London killing: Suspect appears in court,charged with murder

One of two men shot by police officers last week after the brutal killing of a soldier in London appeared in court on Thursday to face charges

Written by New York Times | London | Published: May 31, 2013 1:07 am

STEPHEN CASTLE

One of two men shot by police officers last week after the brutal killing of a soldier in London appeared in court on Thursday to face charges of murder and possessing an illegal firearm.

The man,Michael Adebowale,22,from Greenwich in southeast London,spoke only to confirm his name and address during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court,where he was accused of killing Lee Rigby,an army bandsman and machine-gunner,who was stabbed to death near the military barracks in Woolwich on May 22.

Adebowale was released from a hospital on Tuesday and taken to a London police station where he was questioned. The hearing Thursday was procedural,and the case was referred to another court where proceedings will begin on Monday. The second man who was shot,Michael Adebolajo,28,remains under arrest at a London hospital.

Earlier,charges against Adebowale were outlined in a statement by Sue Hemming,head of Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime and counter-terrorism division. “Following the release of Michael Adebowale from hospital,we have authorized the police to charge him with the murder of Drummer Rigby. We have also authorized police to charge him with possession of a firearm,” Hemming said.

“This man is now charged with serious criminal offences,and he has the right to a fair trial,” Hemming said,calling on the news media to show restraint and avoid reporting anything “which could prejudice this trial.”

Rigby was walking to a military barracks on the afternoon of May 22 when he was struck by a car and then was attacked by two men with knives and meat cleavers,according to witnesses and the police.

On Wednesday,the police gave the briefest of details from a post-mortem examination,saying Rigby died of “multiple incised wounds” that he suffered after he was hit by a car. The police statement did not address claims made by bystanders that the attackers had tried to behead Rigby.

More details may emerge on Friday when a formal inquest into the death is scheduled to open at Southwark Coroner’s Court.

In addition to Adebowale and Adebolajo,the police have arrested eight other people in connection with the case. Two were freed without charges,and six were released on bail.

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