Jurors at the Old Bailey heard a series of graphic accounts from witnesses who feared they would be shot when one of the men pointed a gun at them.
One, James Henegan, broke down in tears when he was told by one of the defendant’s barristers there was nothing he could have done to have prevented the death of Fusilier Rigby.
Fusilier Rigby’s widow Rebecca left the oak-panelled courtroom weeping as statements described how her husband was murdered as he walked back to Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of running the soldier over and hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives. They deny a charge of murder, as well as further counts of attempting to murder a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC read a statement by witness Cheralee Armstrong to the jury, in which she said that there was “pure evil” in one of the knifemen’s eyes, and that she thought she would die.
She said: “It was like they were mutilating the person’s body.”
When she shouted at the attackers to stop, she described one of them looking at her. She went on: “The man in the hat stared at me; his expression was blank. Pure evil, and his eyes were bulging.”
He then pointed a gun at her. She went on: “I thought I was going to die.”
She said the pair threw Fusilier Rigby’s body into the road “like it was a rubbish bag”.
Mr Henegan, who was driving his car with Ms Armstrong, wiped away tears as Adebolajo’s barrister David Gottlieb asked him if he was he aware there was nothing he could have done to change what happened.
“My client is very anxious that you should know that,” Mr Gottlieb added.
Mr Henegan described the moment he saw one of the men draw a gun from what looked like a carrier bag.
He said: “I thought he was going to shoot... fire a gun at us.”
Another witness, Amanda Bailey, whose statement was also read by Mr Whittam, said: “I couldn’t believe what was going on. It was broad daylight and this man didn’t care.”
The case continues today.