19 – Witness Testimony

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As previously mentioned, some witness testimony, as discovered in the corporate-media, is couched in journalism. Unfortunately, this has to be reproduced here as substitute for direct statements by the witnesses, and we must make the most out of it as we can. Fortunately, there is a lot more that is of a direct sort of witness statement – although it still might not provide a full picture. Where it is relevant, the reproduction of the witness testimony will be accompanied with the tweets made by Sky News reporters who were covering the trial live. These electronic writings were collated at a dedicated Sky News web page[1], and are all written, between them, by Mark White, with twitter account @skymarkwhite, and his colleague Tom Parmenter @TomSkyNews.

Amanda Bailey

After Amanda Bailey had seen the first impact and saw the body of Lee Rigby land upon the pavement of Artillery Place, she made observations about Rigby’s state of health, and judgements about what she had witnessed – this much she tells of in testimony. Initially she was under the impression that there had been a bad accident – like many other people who were interviewed by television crews that day. Dutifully, she tried to call the emergency services, but she dialled the number 9 four times in haste. At this point she was witnessing Adebolajo, already out of the car, reaching inside his coat – she thought that he was going to make the 999 call. In fact Adebolajo pulled out a ‘triangular’ blade:

It was a cleaver about three inches wide. He was holding the cleaver in his right hand.

He grabbed the young man with his hand and started hacking at his neck with the knife.

It opened up a large cut and I could see a spray of blood. He was still hacking. He was using a lot of force to hack at the young man’s neck.

He was raising it up and bringing it down repeatedly.

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale accused of Woolwich soldier murder[2]; Paul Cockerton; 02 December 2013.

The above appears to be directly from Bailey’s written testimony; however, the following is put into her mouth by the prosecution:

Bailey saw him [Adebolajo] hack nine times at Rigby’s neck, Whittam said.

Men tried to behead soldier on London street, court hears[3]; Michael Holden et al; 29 November 2013.

Thomas Seymour

Thomas Seymour, who had followed Bailey onto the scene, was reported as testifying in writing as follows:

“I thought he [Rigby] looked black but after a short while I realised this was because he was covered in blood,” he said.

Mr Seymour said he saw one of the men stab the soldier with “forceful” actions between the chest and belly button “10 or 20 times”.

Mr Seymour said the other man was “hacking the victim’s head”.

“I believed he was trying to cut the victim’s head off by the way he was attacking him,” he said.

Woolwich Murder: Court hears graphic testimony[4]; staff writer; 02 December 2013.

John Power

John Power, who we think must have been parked on the other side of the road to witness this part of the incident, testified in a written statement:

He [Adebolajo] stood by his head. His right hand was chopping at the man’s head with a small chopper or axe. The action was like chopping a tree. It was like when somebody slaps a person’s repeatedly backwards and forwards.

Four or five seconds later the passenger got out of the passenger seat. I saw him making a thrusting motion in and out towards the man’s body.

Adebolajo: Witnesses to Lee Rigby slaughter recall their horror[5]; staff writer; date unspecified.

Ibrahim Elidemir

The following is from Ibrahim Elidemir’s written testimony:

I saw a black guy standing over him with a knife in his left hand. Its overall length was about 30cm.

I was scared. I was confused by what I was seeing and wondered what the man was going to do.

I heard someone saying ‘call the police, get the police.’

I was very frightened and returned to my shop and operated the electric shutter. I used the shop telephone to call 999.

I told the lady there had been a car crash and there was somebody stabbing somebody.

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale accused of Woolwich soldier murder[6]; Paul Cockerton; 02 December 2013.

Saraj Miah

Elidemir’s companion on the pavement outside the Victoria Tavern shop was Saraj Miah; the following is his written testimony:

The black man with the chopper knife [Adebolajo] went towards the head of the fallen man.

I thought the two men with knives in the hand were going to kill him.

I told them: “Do not kill him.” They did not listen.

The black man in passenger seat stabbed the fallen man about six times in his chest.

I told them “do not leave”. The black man from the passenger seat took out a gun and aimed it at me.

See above source.

Gill Hucks and Gary Perkins

Gill Hucks and the passenger in her car, Gary Perkins, were more witnesses to this knife attack – Perkins gave evidence in person, of course. Hucks testified in writing the following:

I could not believe they were doing what they were doing in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the street.

He was cutting into his neck from ear to ear. Male one then dragged him in front of my car. He then flung the body on to the road.

In my rear view mirror I saw a man approaching the attackers. The males threatened him and he left.

I had almost totally lost control and was screaming. I was shaking and very upset. Quite a crowd gathered and people filmed on their mobile phones.

The men made no attempt to run from the scene.

See source above.

Gary Perkins, saw Adebolajo “sawing at the neck of Lee Rigby with a machete” while Adebowale was “trying to cut bits of the body away”. He said the attack was like “a butcher attacking a joint of meat”.

Court hears countdown to ‘horrific, frenzied’ Woolwich attack[7]; Josh Halliday et al; 29 November 2013.

Another witness, Gary Perkins, told the court he saw one of the suspects with what looked like a large butcher’s cleaver stabbing Rigby’s neck, “like a butcher attacking a joint of meat”.

Perkins told jurors he saw the second man making “frenzied stabs” to the soldier’s body in an attack that seemed to last “five, 10, 15 seconds”.

Lee Rigby witness describes the look of ‘pure evil’ on killers’ faces[8]; Josh Halliday et al; 02 December 2013.

There was also Twitter reference to Perkins:

Gary Perkins, one of the first witnesses at the scene of Lee Rigby murder trial, saw 2 men stabbing at the victim #woolwich.

3.19pm, 02 December 2013. [Reference 44]

Three more followed; the following was the last concerning Perkins:

Perkins, who said attacker was making “frenzied stabbing motions” has now finished giving evidence – on to more written statements #woolwich.

3.25pm, 02 December 2013. [Reference 44]

Cheralee Armstrong and James Henegan

Next we come to Cheralee Armstrong, who was the passenger in James Heneghan’s car. The author can’t seem to find direct quotes from her – her testimony is always couched in journalism. She is going to prove a very interesting witness, so there has been no attempt to comb out her exact words from the additional verbiage:

She [Armstrong] saw a “rocking movement of these two men’s bodies [over the body of Rigby]. I thought they were resuscitating him following a car crash,” the jury was told.

She said she then saw one man “ramming two knives into the man with so much force. It was like they were mutilating the person’s body…  like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso.” Ms Armstrong shouted at the man to stop. [This caused Adebolajo to turn to her] “His expression was blank, pure evil, and his eyes were bulging,” she said.

One of the men walked back to the crashed car and plucked a gun from a crumpled plastic bag. He pointed it at her without saying a word until she and Mr Heneghan got back into their car and drove off.

Lee Rigby murder trial: Killer ‘had look of pure evil as he hacked body’[9]; Paul Peachey; 02 December 2013.

I shouted, ‘they are stabbing him, they are killing him’.”

She said she got out of the car and shouted ‘stop, stop’ while trying to unlock her mobile phone to call for help.

She told how he [the man in the hat] pulled a gun from a bag and pointed it at her and added: “I shouted, ‘he’s got a gun’. I thought I was going to die. I could only think of my kids and James.

“They dragged the body along the ­pavement and threw it into the road as though it was a rubbish bag. They tossed him from the pavement and into the road.”

Pictured: Lee Rigby murder accused Michael Adebolajo buying five-piece knife set and SHARPENER day before ‘frenzied attack’[10]; Andy Rudd et al; 02 December 2013.

Armstrong said she was shouting: “They’re stabbing him. They’re killing him” when a bus pulled up and 40 to 50 passengers got off to see what had happened, the jury was told.

She described how the two accused dragged the body “like a rubbish bag” and tossed it into the road. “Lots of people from the bus were filming on their phones,” she added.

By this point, Adebowale is said to have walked away from the body, she said; he “looked mad like he’d escaped from a mental hospital”, the jury heard.

Lee Rigby witness describes the look of ‘pure evil’ on killers’ faces[11]; Josh Halliday et al; 02 December 2013.

When it comes to James Heneghan, there is surprisingly little reported about his witness testimony. We know much more about Gary Perkins’ appearance in court than we do Heneghan’s. We know Heneghan got emotional, but the author cannot find examples of prosecutor Whittam asking Heneghan to confirm his witness statement – as Perkins was asked.

Mr Heneghan wept as he described the moment he left his car and saw one of the men withdraw with a gun from what looked like a “carrier bag.”

“He pulled a gun from the bag and pointed it at us,” he said. “I thought he was going to shoot…fire a gun at us.”

Emotional witness recalls being threatened with a gun[12]; staff writer; 02 December 2013.

James Heneghan’s appearance was covered in two tweets:

Lee Rigby murder witness James Heneghan giving evidence now. Says one of the attackers took a gun out and pointed it at him #woolwich.

3.41pm, 02 December 2013. [Reference 39]

Eyewitness James Heneghan visibly emotional as he describes how one of Lee Rigby’s attackers pulled gun on him. Case now finished for the day.

3.47pm, 02 December 2013. [Reference 39]

Arguably, Heneghan was on the stand for a shorter time than Perkins because during his 6 minutes the court was able to wrap up proceedings for the day. In conjunction with the fact that not much can be found online that is attributable to Heneghan, it appears to this author that either journalists were told not to report Heneghan’s testimony, or it wasn’t explored very much. Given that Heneghan called into the Iain Dale show on LBC Radio on the day of the incident and was effectively the first person to let the world know what had happened, it is amazing that this was the case. A cynic might say that a risk of a contradiction arising, after Heneghan was initially so fully on the record, was too much for his official testimony to be available for scrutiny.

Michelle and Tina Nimmo

The two final witnesses to the stabbings and the brandishing of the gun were the Nimmo women. The following is Michelle Nimmo’s written testimony:

I saw what looked like a car crash on the other side of the road. There was a man lying face down in front of this car, covered in blood. There were two men leaning over him. These men began repeatedly attacking the man on the ground, chopping away at him all over. I parked my car opposite the scene of the attack. My mum got out and walked towards the attacker. I shouted at my mum to get back as I was worried about her safety, but she wanted to help the man on the floor.

The men then dragged the man into the road by his top half. People wanted to help the man on the floor but any attempts to get close were met from threatening gestures with the knives and the gun.

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as police officer tells court of moment she thought she would be killed[13]; Paul Cockerton; 03 December 2013.

Tina Nimmo was the third live witness, and the third who could attest to seeing the attack.

Witness Tina Nimmo raised her arm above her head and brought it down sharply as she described seeing Fusilier Lee Rigby being stabbed to the court, recalling that she saw one of the defendants “chopping down at something on the floor”.

She broke down in tears as she told the court how the soldier’s body was dragged into the road and said she had pleaded with the men to stop.

Witness: Accused ‘was chopping down at something’[14]; staff writer; 03 December 2013.

Grandmother Tina Nimmo [choking back tears]… told jurors she saw one man “chopping down at something on the floor.”

Ms Nimmo said she started shouting at the two men to stop…

“Then this whole bus load of people wanted to come and have a look and it just made it more difficult to control.”

She said she shouted “hang back, he’s got a gun” but people continued to approach the scene.

The men then “posed a bit more, very proud of what they had in their hands,” she added.

Ms Nimmo continued to try and prevent traffic from approaching the scene and warn people away.

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as police officer tells court of moment she thought she would be killed[15]; Paul Cockerton; 03 December 2013.

This is the tweet sent by Mark White[16] of Sky regarding Nimmo’s live appearance.

Eyewitness Tina Nimmo now being called into court to give evidence #woolwich

11.21am; 03 December 2013.

Nimmo seems to have spent approximately 10 minutes on the stand.The last tweet concerning Tina Nimmo was sent at 11.29am, and by then 10 had been written and despatched by both Mark White and his colleague Tom Parmenter. By 11.33am the court had moved onto something else – which was the reading out of Graham Wilders’ witness testimony.

Graham Wilders

Incredibly, there seems to be no detailed reportage of what Graham Wilder’s written testimony was. In fact, the only way the author was aware of his testifying at all was because of a brief Twitter report by Sky’s Parmenter:

Witness statement being read from Graham Wilders who saw attack from a car. “They looked like they were trying to resuscitate the person.”

11.33am; 03 December 2013 [Reference 39]

An observation was made about Heneghan above, and the same could be said of Wilders. He gave umpteen interviews to corporate-media on the day.

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[1] http://live-news.sky.com/Event/Lee_Rigby_Murder_Trial_Live_Updates

[2] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/woolwich-trial-live-lee-rigby-2875490

[3] http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/29/uk-britain-soldier-idUKBRE9AS0BL20131129

[4] http://www.juicefm.com/news/local/woolwich-murder-court-hears-graphic-testimony/

[5] http://www.courtnewsuk.co.uk/newsgallery/?page=340&news_id=35177

[6] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/woolwich-trial-live-lee-rigby-2875490

[7] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/29/woolwich-attack-lee-rigby-court

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/02/lee-rigby-pure-evil-killers-faces

[9] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/killer-of-gunner-lee-rigby-had-look-of-pure-evil-as-he-hacked-body-8978725.html

[10] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pictured-lee-rigby-murder-accused-2876879

[11] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/02/lee-rigby-pure-evil-killers-faces

[12] http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-11-29/woolwich-lee-rigby-michael-adebolajo-michael-adebowale/?page=13

[13] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/woolwich-trial-live-lee-rigby-2878015

[14] http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-11-29/woolwich-lee-rigby-michael-adebolajo-michael-adebowale/?page=12

[15] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/woolwich-trial-live-lee-rigby-2878015

[16] http://live-news.sky.com/Event/Live_Updates_Woolwich_Murder_Trial?Page=0