Violence broke out in the Old Bailey dock yesterday after Lee Rigby's murderers began hurling abuse at the judge and fighting with prison guards during their sentencing.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole-life term, while Michael Adebowale, 22, was jailed for life with a minimum of 45 years - meaning he could be back on the streets by the age of 67.
In extraordinary scenes, the two Muslim extremists yelled 'Allahu Akbar' and 'You (Britain) and America will never be safe' during their sentencing at the court in Central London.
The British-born extremists mowed down Fusilier Rigby in a car before hacking him to death in the street in front of horrified onlookers near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London in May last year.
They both claimed that they were ‘soldiers of Allah’ and were motivated by the plight of Muslims abroad to carry out the killing, and have shown no remorse.
After sentencing began, the two men shouted at Mr Justice Sweeney in protest at his remarks and were pinned to the ground by several security guards and taken back to the cells.
The judge was forced to sentence the men in their absence after they were bundled out of the courtroom following their violent outburst.
The killers had to be pinned to the ground by nine security guards and Rigby's family began sobbing as they watched the incident in horror, being handed tissues by court staff.
The relatives were forced to get up from their seats, cowering away from the violence which was happening just feet away, according to reporters in court.
Adebolajo shouted Allahu Akbhar, and Adebowale called out ‘that's a lie’ and ‘it's not a betrayal of Islam’ as the judge told them they had been radicalised.
The prisoners were dragged down to the cells - one head first – and could be heard banging on the ceilings below after being taken down as the judge condemned their 'barbaric' murder.
The judge said the pair's behaviour was ‘sickening and pitiless’, and that Adebolajo had no hope of rehabilitation.
‘Your sickening and pitiless conduct was in stark contrast to the compassion and bravery shown by the various women at the scene who tended to Lee Rigby's body and challenged what you had done and said.’
Three people were arrested outside the Old Bailey yesterday as far-right protesters gathered ahead of the sentencing of the two Muslim fanatics.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the court building, waving Union flags and chanting.
A City of London Police spokesman said two men were arrested, one on suspicion of actual bodily harm and one for affray. A woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
The police spokesman said there was a ‘significant police presence’ in the area. The street has been closed in both directions outside the court.
Supporters of the British National Party and the English Defence League gathered around gallows which had been constructed in the street and many held placards which read: ‘Restore capital punishment’. The crowd cheered when the sentences was announced.
Condemned prisoners were once led from the Old Bailey via ‘Dead Man’s Walk’ to be executed at the nearby gallows until 1868.
Hundreds of people would crowd into the narrow thoroughfare, with the ‘best view’ reputed to be from the Magpie and Stump pub.
Yesterday the sounds of chanting, sirens and renditions of the hymn Jerusalem could be heard by those inside the courthouse as police were forced to close off the road.
The struggle in the dock was triggered when the killers, both wearing Islamic robes, reacted angrily to comments that Mr Justice Sweeney made about their extremist beliefs.
He told them: ‘You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist, espousing views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam.’
Noth men had sat in silence for more than an hour after Adebolajo refused to stand for the judge, which he also did throughout his trial.
Dressed all in black, he sparked the sudden violent outburst, first saying ‘liar’ and then jumping in the air to shout ‘that’s a lie’ directly at the judge.
Adebowale ranted about America and Britain, and his accomplice joined in, screaming ‘Allahu Akbar' and hurling abuse at the prison guards who grappled him to the ground.
Both men were grabbed around the face as guards struggled to control them, and taken down to the cells. The soldier's family were visibly distressed, and one relative needed medical treatment.
The judge made sure that the family were okay before starting his sentencing remarks again. He said that the murder also betrayed ‘the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country’.
The judge said the men had carried out the killing to show ‘your extremist views, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage including getting yourselves killed by armed officers who were bound to arrive at the scene’.
Describing how the pair mowed Rigby down at 30-40mph, he said: ‘He had done absolutely nothing to deserve what you went on to do to him.’
Mr Justice Sweeney added: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that what the two of you did resulted in a bloodbath.’ Adebolajo tried to behead the soldier while Adebowale stabbed him in the chest.
‘You both gloried in what you had done,’ the judge told the court, and said it had a ‘severe and lasting impact’ on his loved ones.
There were also dramatic scenes outside the Old Bailey as roads near the court were closed and members of the public shouted at prison vans leaving the building.
A number of far right protesters had remained outside the court all day, with two sets of gallows, calling for the killers to face the death penalty.
POLICE: THIS WAS TRUE HORROR
Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who heads Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, said: ‘Today's (Wednesday's) sentence reflects the true horror of their actions in taking this young man's life in such a barbaric way.
‘Our thoughts remain with Lee's loved ones, who have shown dignity and strength throughout the judicial process.’
Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, acknowledged that the soldier's family had found the whole court process distressing.
She said: ‘Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale revelled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have seen whilst head of counter terrorism at the CPS.
‘Not only was the attack brutal and calculated, it was also designed to advance extremist views. As a solider, Fusilier Lee Rigby was targeted in a clear act of revenge, deliberately carried out in full view of members of the public for maximum impact.'
Rigby's family later said that Adebolajo and Adebowale had received the ‘right prison terms’, adding: ‘We feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee.’
Adebolajo is already appealing his conviction on technical legal grounds, using public funds to pay his legal fees.
Earlier, the bereft widow of Rigby told the judge who sentenced his killers that their child will grow up seeing images of his dead father that 'no son should have to endure'.
Rigby, 25, was 'mutilated, almost decapitated and murdered' by Adebowale and Adebolajo, who ambushed him outside his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22 last year.
His widow Rebecca Rigby, 30, said in her victim impact statement: 'The one thing that overrides everything is that I know my son (Jack) will grow up and see images of his dad that no son should ever have to endure, and there is nothing I can do to change this.'
She spoke out after her husband's family arrived at the Old Bailey wearing matching t-shirts demanding justice for the murdered soldier.
In her statement, read by the prosecution, Mrs Rigby, with whom the soldier has a three-year-old son, went on: 'I felt like I didn't want to go on.
'When you wave someone off you accept that there is a chance you will never see them again.
'You do not expect to see this on the streets of the UK. Lee will never be forgotten. We will always love him and miss him every day.'
The court also heard part of a statement from the soldier's stepfather, Ian Rigby.
He said: 'After all he had been through in Afghanistan all Lee was doing was just walking through London. Just seeing on the television and seeing the violence of it you just can't comprehend. You take it all in and it doesn't click in your head, it is like being somewhere else.
Wife: Lee Rigby's widow Rebecca was at the Old Bailey for the sentencing of his two killers
'You're watching it without being actually there.'
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said that the family's lives had been devastated.
He said: 'The scale of the impact on them of the nature of the murder of Lee Rigby in the circumstances made so public during the trial and after such a killing causing a son to pre-decease his parents and stepfather and leave those others who loved him without a husband or a soul mate is too obvious to set out in detail.
'He had, as your lordship knows, a young son. All their lives have been irreparably changed for the worse.'
In December the two fanatics were found guilty of butchering the father-of-one but their sentencing was delayed until yesterday after Strasbourg judges said that whole-life tariffs are unlawful.
But last week senior British judges defied the European Court of Human Rights ruling, leaving judge Justice Sweeney free to decide whether Adebolajo and Adebowlale should die behind bars.
Adebolajo's QC told the court that sentencing his client to life without parole would make him a 'martyr', while Adebowale's legal team said a whole-life term would be 'inhuman' for a man that age.
Adebolajo's defending barrister David Gottlieb argued against his client being handed a whole-life order, with no hope of parole. Mr Gottlieb said: 'He should not in these circumstances be deprived of any hope of release.'
'THEY ARE THE RIGHT PRISON TERMS': RIGBY FAMILY STATEMENT
This is the full statement from the family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby following yesterday's sentencing of his killers:
‘The Rigby family welcomes the whole life and significant sentences that have been passed down on Lee's killers.
‘We feel that no other sentence would have been acceptable and we would like to thank the judge and the courts for handing down what we believe to be the right prison terms.
‘We would also like to thank everyone who has supported us in the last nine months.
‘It has brought us a lot of comfort and we feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee. It just remains to be said: rest in peace Lee.
‘We would now ask to be left to continue our grieving for him in private.’
The barrister said Adebolajo was 'not someone incapable of change without proper encouragement'.
Adebolajo, who has two children and four stepchildren, did not intend to physically injure anyone other than the victim, he said.
Mr Gottlieb went on: 'There's no evidence that the defendants were part of a wider network or cell or support group.'
While the killing of a British soldier had caused anger, Mr Gottlieb said, his murder can not be likened to a mass casualty event like the 7/7 attacks in London.
Rigby's murder shares characteristics of a hate crime or the killing of a police officer, more than a murder to advance a political cause, Mr Gottlieb said.
The barrister said it was accepted the defendants ran the soldier over in a car to render him unconscious.
Nor is there any evidence they deliberately mutilated Rigby's body, he added. 'There's evidence he can be rehabilitated now, not much evidence but some evidence,' Mr Gottlieb said.
During their trial, Rigby's bereft family were forced to watch footage and hear gruesome accounts of the soldier being run down at 40mph and hacked to death in the street.
Adebolajo had admitted they executed the father-of-one but claimed they were not murderers because they are 'soldiers of Allah' at 'war' with Britain over its foreign policy.
Witnesses to his death said Muslim convert Adebolajo had held the British soldier by the hair and tried to hack off his head 'like a butcher attacking a joint of meat'.
The father-of-one almost had his head sliced off when his 'motionless' body was attacked in a 'cowardly and callous' execution.
The two men, armed with a rusty ‘cowboy’ revolver, then dragged his body into the road so everyone could see their ‘barbarous acts’, the court heard.
Father-of-one Rigby, from Middleton in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, died from multiple wounds after being attacked shortly after 2.20pm on May 22.
Mr Rigby was seen returning home to the barracks by train and on foot from his work at the Tower of London.
As he crossed the road he was suddenly hit from behind by a Vauxhall Tigra driven by Adebolajo, leaving him helpless on the ground. Adebowale was in the passenger seat holding the weapons.
He was then mutilated and ‘almost decapitated'. One bystander said Adebolajo had ‘pure evil’ in his eyes as he hacked the soldier to death with a meat cleaver.
Another described how the men behaved like ‘animals’ as they mutilated their victim.
After the soldier was dead Adebolajo ranted at bystanders about how the murder of Rigby was ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth’.
The Islamic extremist launched a series of tirades at bystanders, police and medics, even handing a note to one trying to justify his ‘heinous behaviour'.
Mobile phone footage was shown to the court of Adebolajo clutching a meat cleaver and with his hands dripping in blood, making his speech as the motionless, ‘almost decapitated’ body of Rigby lay nearby.
In the clip, he says: ‘The only reason we’ve killed this person is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.
‘It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These soldiers go to our land, kill, bomb our people.
‘Remove your governments – they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die?
‘No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you, and your children. So get rid of them – tell them to bring our troops back so we can all live in peace. Leave our land.’
Meanwhile women raced to the side of the lifeless soldier even as his bloodied killers stood over his body.
CCTV footage showed the women, later dubbed the ‘angels of Woolwich’, kneeling at Rigby’s side.
Throughout their trial Adebowale, also known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah and Adebolajo, also known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza, were flanked by up seven prison guards.
Jurors were shown footage of them being gunned down by armed police when the defendants tried to attack them.
Adebolajo is seen to fly across the road as shots are fired at him and received a gunshot wound to his upper left bicep.
The court heard as he lay in the road he said to paramedics: 'Please let me lay here, I don't want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country.
Message: Michael Adebolajo thanked police for shooting him and told them he killed Lee Rigby 'for my God', the prosecution said
'Your government is wrong, I did it for my God. I wish the bullets had killed me so I can join my friends and family.'
Adebolajo later told officers: 'I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one. Your people have gone to Afghanistan and raped and killed our women. I am seeking retribution I wouldn't stoop so low as to rape and kill women.
'I thank the person who shot me, because it is what Allah would have wanted.'
Adebolajo added: 'I love Allah more than my children.'
The first armed officer on the scene, named only as E48, said Adebowale was shot in the leg and stomach, and when he raised his arm holding the gun they fired twice at his hand and blew off a digit.
‘He raised one of his arms up. I’ve still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand,’ he told the court.
‘The next two shots shot his thumb off. The hand holding the weapon’.
Jurors were seen sobbing and Rigby's family repeatedly fled the court in tears as the horrific last moments of the soldier's life were played to the court.
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale's refusal to admit murder meant that CCTV of them stabbing him and trying to hack off his head was repeatedly shown to the Old Bailey.
Witnesses to the horrific crime described how they had struggled to get on with their lives and had feared they themselves would be murdered.
One bystander said Adebolajo had ‘pure evil’ in his eyes as he hacked Rigby to death with a meat cleaver, holding his hair and 'chopping' at his next like 'it was a tree'.
The court was told of the preparations for the murder. CCTV images showed Adebolajo buying kitchen knives and petrol in the hours before the murder of Rigby.
The suspected Islamic terrorist, wearing a black beanie hat, was filmed the day before the killing as he paid £24.99 for a set of five knives at Argos.
He also bought a knife sharpener. The next day, he was filmed as he filled his car with petrol.
Terrified witnesses described how the two men armed behaved like ‘animals’ as they mutilated their victim.
HOW SOLDIER 'CALLOUSLY' MURDERED SERVED HIS COUNTRY
Lee Rigby joined the Army in July 2006 and joined the Corps of Drums and posted to the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
His first posting was in 2006 to Cyprus. In 2007, he joined the Corps of Drums in the machine gun platoon on a mission to Jordan where he learned to be a machine gunner.
The battalion returned to London in 2008 and he became an 'integral member' of the Corps of Drums.
His public duties included being part of the Household Division’s Beating the Retreat on Horse Guards, a 'special honour for an infantry Corps of Drums.'
In 2009, he joined operations in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, serving as a machine gunner as part of a fire support group.
On his return to Britain, he completed a second tour of public duties and then moved to Germany where he was held in readiness for 'contingency operations' as part of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group.
In 2011, Fusilier Rigby took up a recruiting post in London where he also assisted with duties at regimental headquarters in the Tower of London and was based at Woolwich barracks.
He was 'callously' murdered outside his base on May 22 last year.
Others thought the attackers were trying to resuscitate him as his body rocked from the force of their deadly blows.
Rigby’s grieving widow Rebecca ran from the Old Bailey courtroom in tears as horrific details of his final moments were revealed.
His sister Sara McClure, fiancée Aimee West and other family members sat in silence just yards away from the alleged killers.
Members of the public were left in shock with some unable to sleep for days because of the barbarity of the attack.
One woman, Cheralee Armstrong, 38, told police the attack was so ferocious that ‘it was like they were trying to remove the person’s organs from his body.’ ‘I first saw a rocking movement. At first I thought they were resuscitating a man on the floor after a car crash,’ she said.
‘I then saw the feet of the man. They were jolting in rhythm with the two men standing over him.’
Describing one of the attackers, she said: ‘He kept ramming the two knives into the man on the floor with so much force.
‘When the knives came up I could see the whole length of the blades which were covered in blood.
‘It was like they were mutilating the person’s body. It seemed like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso. I shouted, "They are stabbing him. They are killing him."
‘I then got out of the car and shouted, "Stop, stop." The man in the hat was staring at me. His expression was blank, but pure evil and his eyes were bulging.’
Miss Armstrong said the two killers threw Mr Rigby’s body into the road ‘like it was a rubbish bag’ as she sat in a car with James Henegan, 39.
The jury then saw videos of Adebolajo as he was interviewed by police after he was released from hospital after he was shot after charging armed officers.
He told them: 'It brings me little joy to approach anyone and slay them.'
During heated exchanges at Southwark Police Station, he attempted to justify the attack on Fusilier Rigby.
'Can you believe me, It gives me no little joy', said Adebolajo, clutching a copy of the Koran in his left hand.
'I am not a man who gets enjoyment in horror movies, seeing blood and gore across the camera lens.'
A forensic psychiatrist who watched said he showed 'no regret or remorse' after the attack but was 'not mentally ill'.
Adebolajo and Adebowale were convicted after 90 minutes of deliberations by the jury.