Witnesses filled with horror as fanatics carried out savage attack

Fusilier Lee Rigby. Photo: MoD/Crown Copy/PA Wire
Fusilier Lee Rigby. Photo: MoD/Crown Copy/PA Wire
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FUSILIER Lee Rigby was slaughtered in broad daylight in an attack which appalled the nation.

Dressed in his Help for Heroes hoodie, the 22-year-old soldier had simply been walking near Woolwich barracks, where he was based, when he was targeted by two jihadist fanatics armed with a gun and eight knives in front of horrified commuters, pedestrians and shopkeepers.

Michael Adebolajo during interviews with police

Michael Adebolajo during interviews with police

The men were Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale – two Muslim converts, who had grown to loathe Britain, the country where they were born and raised.

As Fusilier Rigby walked along the border of Woolwich barracks on Artillery Place, he crossed the road. At this point, a blue Vauxhall Tigra swerved across the road, striking him.

The soldier was lifted on to the bonnet, hitting the windscreen, before being thrown forwards on to the ground in a heap. The car crashed into a road sign and came to a halt.

CCTV footage of the collision was shown to the jury in his killers’ trial. Those in the courtroom gasped at the image of Fusilier Rigby’s body being thrown up in the air at the moment of impact.

Adebolajo, who was driving, left the vehicle first.

In a frenzy, the Greenwich University dropout took hold of the soldier’s hair and repeatedly hacked at the right side of his neck.

Adebowale, the passenger, leapt from the car second and stabbed the fusilier with a knife. In another horrifying act caught on CCTV, the two men dragged the soldier’s body from the pavement to the middle of the road, parading the results of their barbarity.

For a small group of bystanders, the horror unfolded before their eyes. Amanda Bailey was driving her blue Peugeot 206 on Artillery Place and witnessed the crash and knife attack.

“I was so shocked that all I could do was sit there and stare at what was happening,” she told police.

Sarah Riordan was heavily-pregnant at the time and started to experience painful contractions as the chaotic scenes unfolded around her.

For the vast majority, the shocking events were drip-fed through social media –particularly the microblogging site Twitter.

Witnesses immediately took to their smartphones to express their shock – amid talk of a beheading, and crazed madmen hacking at an innocent pedestrian.

As Fusilier Rigby lay in the road, his murderers stood over his body, waiting for the police to arrive.

In a number of images, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a French-born mother-of-two, can be seen bravely remonstrating with Adebowale as he clutches a knife.