21 – Issues In Respect of the Two Michaels

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4. It should be feasible to link the two Michaels to the attack by the number and state of the knives found and seen in their possession

Fig. 76 – the Taylor Eye Witness knife set – as available from Argos at the time of writing.

Fig. 76 – the Taylor Eye Witness knife set – as available from Argos at the time of writing.

One image presented to the jury showed Michael Adebolajo at a local Argos in the day previous to the incident (see Fig. 72). In this image he is apparently buying a set of 5 knives. These things usually consist of a) a bread knife, b) a paring knife, c) a chef’s knife, d) an all purpose knife, and e) a carving knife. The bread knife is self-explanatory. The paring knife is a small blade for fruit. The chef’s knife is a large wide chopping knife. The all purpose knife is a blade a between four and five and inches long. The carving knife is a thin and long blade. These are shown in Fig. 76 in the following left to right order: c, a, e, d and b.

Fig. 77 – a black handled all purpose knife; location of discovery on scene not known.

Fig. 77 – a black handled all purpose knife; location of discovery on scene not known.

In footage and photographs of the two Michaels at the scene, each are seen holding knives. Adebolajo is holding a knife that looks suspiciously like the knife of a set that is identified above as knife c. He is also seen holding a cleaver – a clearly square blade used as a speciality butchery knife (see Fig. 83). This is a knife that is additional to the set, and has been called a machete by the corporate-media.

Finally, Adebolajo had a knife in his back pocket which could be identified as knife e. It was discovered by the female police officer who searched him during his arrest – this moment is captured in film footage. This knife appeared in a photo that was presented as evidence to the jury.

Adebowale was pictured with a knife that appears to be another chef’s knife because of the way the blade hung low below its top edge near the handle. This blade looks in the photos to be at least 6 inches long.

Fig. 78 – Adebowale’s knife under plastic pictured from east.

Fig. 78 – Adebowale’s knife under plastic pictured from east.

However, in the Bus Footage the blade can be seen fairly clearly (see Fig. 80), and it does indeed have the look of a chef’s knife about it. In the Sun Arrest Footage it seems to have a steel handle. Admittedly, when the knife is imaged under transparent sheet – taped there by police forensics onto the pavement of Artillery Place – it doesn’t look as long, and the blade looks more slender while the handle looks black. However, all these features are probably an effect of the transparency being laid over the top. It looks as though Adebowale has his own all-steel chef’s knife.

This presents a problem which would not be all too apparent to casual observers. Before commencing the exploration of this problem, we need to know that officially Adebowale and Adebolajo came to the scene with 8 knives – this much is confirmed in none other than the judge Sweeney’s sentencing speech. To be clear, this is exactly what he said:

The day before the murder you Adebolajo bought five knives and a knife sharpener – which you used to sharpen some of the knives in preparation for their use in the murder…

You had with you a total of eight knives and the gun.

Lee Rigby murder: the judge’s sentencing speech in full[1]; PA; 26 February 2014.

Fig. 79 – Adebowale’s knife from the west.

Fig. 79 – Adebowale’s knife from the west.

The carving knife carried by Adebolajo is branded as “Taylor’s Eye Witness”. A little checking with Argos confirms that this sort of knife is still sold (at least at the time of writing) in a set of 5 knives. The chief characteristic of these knives is how the blade and the handle are all one stainless steel piece. As we have seen, Adebowale’s chef’s knife also has a silvery-coloured handle – in other words, it looks as if it has a handle that is cast with the blade. If these two knives are from the same set, how come is it that they are of the same type? Obviously, they could not be, unless we are imagining Adebowale’s knife to be something other than it is. The only other knife from that set it could be was the all-purpose knife – the bread knife and the paring knife are not quite what we could imagine as being killing weapons, and the chef’s knife and the carving knife are accounted for. However, the blade that Adebowale is pictured with is too large. It cannot be an all purpose knife.

Fig. 80 – Adebowale’s knife is clearly long bladed.

Fig. 80 – Adebowale’s knife is clearly long bladed.

It doesn’t end there, because there were yet more knives. An image appeared in the media of an all purpose knife with a black handle in an evidence bag. Another knife that was additional to any set was the one wrapped in green plastic. This knife was found on the passenger seat of the Tigra. In total then, there was the following number of knives at the scene:

  1. Green plastic handle
  2. Cleaver (held by Adebolajo)
  3. 5-set Paring knife
  4. 5-set Bread knife
  5. 5-set Utility knife
  6. 5-set Carving knife (Adebolajo’s back pocket)
  7. 5-set Chef’s knife (held by Adebolajo)
  8. Chef’s knife (held by Adebowale)
  9. Black-handled Utility knife

Unless the bread knife has not been counted as a weapon, the reason why there is a problem becomes plain.

But this is not all. A tweet by Mark White at trial really throws the knife issue into some confusion (see Fig. 82):

Another picture from the box set of knives recovered from defendants’ car shows 5 knives which were never removed from the box #woolwich.

11.12am[2]; 2013.

Fig. 81 – Adebowale’s knife as shown in the Sun Arrest Footage.

Fig. 81 – Adebowale’s knife as shown in the Sun Arrest Footage.

If one wants to keep the number of knives to a minimum, then it means that none of the ones used by Adebolajo and Adebowale were of a set, and the set brought at Argos was not the all-steel kind. We should perhaps presume that it was a cheaper and generic black-plastic handled sort, and the utility knife of the same appearance would have been part of that set. Now we must try and account for the knives again.

  1. Green plastic handle
  2. Cleaver (held by Adebolajo)
  3. 5-set Paring knife (unused)
  4. 5-set Bread knife (unused)
  5. 5-set Utility knife (unused) – this is the black-handled one
  6. 5-set Carving knife (unused)
  7. 5-set Chef’s knife (unused)
  8. Carving knife (Adebolajo’s back pocket)
  9. Chef’s knife (held by Adebolajo)
  10. Chef’s knife (held by Adebowale)
Mark White reports that the Argos 5-knife set was never used.

Mark White reports that the Argos 5-knife set was never used.

There are at least 10 knives for sure. How could it possibly be that this information got corrupted in the trial so that the judge, in his closing statement, could make the mistake of declaring that Adebowale and Adebolajo took 8 knives to the murder of Lee Rigby? Certainly, if the public wasn’t paying attention it wouldn’t matter – any figure could be used to create the idea of an overkill of knives thus to create an idea of the barbarity of the two Muslims. Random images of knives presented at trial splashed through the corporate-media – none of them blood-stained, mind – would contribute to that impression. Moreover, it appears increasingly likely that the only reason Adebolajo brought the Argos set of knives was to assist in the production of material that could be used to incriminate him. The answer to why he would do this is linked in with the concept of his assisting in a conspiracy to frame him.

Fig. 83 – Adebolajo’s blades.

Fig. 83 – Adebolajo’s blades.

All the knives that appeared in images that were made available to the public – none of those actually incriminated the two Michaels – they didn’t show signs of being used. As a matter of fact, it turns out that Adebolajo buying knives at Argos did not incriminate them because those knives were not used either. However, we do know of the existence of knives that were clearly shown to be soiled after Lee Rigby had been attacked. There seems to be no doubt that in images of them during the incident, Adebowale and Adebolajo do seem to be holding blades with blood on them. On studying the images of Adebolajo as he delivers his rant to the people who have disembarked from the bus, one can see that the wooden handle of the cleaver he is carrying is covered with blood – the blood looks stained into the wood rather than lying on top as wet paint would, for instance. There is also dried or drying blood on the blade of the cleaver – in other words, it isn’t dripping. As for Adebowale, his weapon can be seen in the Bus Footage as being covered in a substance.

Apparently, the court was supposedly shown bloodied knives, or pictures of them to be precise; there should have been three, but the reportage doesn’t give a number, which is not the only strange thing about all this. We have no way of knowing how many the court saw. The following tweet from Sky’s Mark White doesn’t clear the issue up, although there is plenty of room for him to include a number. One has to wonder why the issue could not be clarified.

Close up pictures of bloodstained meat cleaver, knives and handgun shown to the Lee Rigby murder trial jury #woolwich

11.00am[3]; 04 December 2013

Fig. 84 – Mark White tweets to tell of how court had seen blood-stains on the weapons.

Fig. 84 – Mark White tweets to tell of how court had seen blood-stains on the weapons.

Why does White use the words “close up”? Is it because the jury actually saw images from the footage that were blown up for detail? We cannot know. However, please notice that this tweet seems to extend the description of bloodstained from the meat cleaver to the word knives – but, if one wants it to read it that way, then surely one has to read it as the handgun being bloodstained as well. So, the only detailed court reporting about the knives leaves a mystery whereby we aren’t sure if the jury only saw a bloodstained meat cleaver (and then only in a still image taken from footage of Adebolajo) and the unsoiled knives in the images which were released to the public. Moreover, it is staggering, but it seems to be the case that the jury did not see the actual physical knives.

Even though the knives could not be produced to show the jury, it does seem that blood was found on more than one of them, which we can tell from this succession of tweets[4] from the Sky’s Mark White:

Crown Prosecutor tells jury that swabs were taken of the blood on the knives and “unsurprisingly” they matched DNA of Lee Rigby #woolwich.

11.14am; 04 December 2013.

Swabs of blood taken from one knife also matched the DNA of defendant Michael Adebolajo #woolwich.

11.16am; 04 December 2013.

What we might forget easily in all this is that although various knives may be soiled, it doesn’t mean that they are soiled with blood, and it doesn’t mean that that blood is Rigby’s. So these tweets are important for that analysis. In fact, this evidence certainly seems to link Adebolajo to Rigby through at least one knife – although of course, we aren’t told which knife this is, and if this knife also had Rigby’s DNA on it – which it needed to have in order to expressly link Adebolajo with Rigby. In the meantime, what this reporting neglects to do is remind its audience about the vast array of knives that were found on the scene. The assumption that is left for people to make is that the two DNA profiles must have overlapped on a particular knife.

As for Adebowale, linking him to a murder weapon through DNA is done much more tenuously (if possible), as this tweet from Sky’s Mark White tells:

Jury hearing about agreed facts in the case. They’re being told about the various knives recovered and that Adebowale’s DNA found on one

2.25pm[5]; 05 December

Unlike the DNA in Adebolajo’s case, there is no mention of blood. The author understands this DNA to be Touch DNA, and this is a material that is transferred to an object from someone’s hand. Of course, there has to be enough contact for transferral to take place – this depends on the holder of the object, how long the object is held, and the material the object is made from. In a lot of cases, there is apparently not enough material to be formed – in other words, there is not enough information to tell who the DNA belongs to.

Verdict: What we can definitely establish through film footage is that Adebowale and Adebolajo do carry knives for what seems to be a considerable time. It is quite possible that Adebowale may have transferred his DNA on to his knife. Another knife is said to have had Adebolajo’s DNA from a blood sample on it. This, more than in Adebowale’s case, suggests that the knife was used in a way that brought about an unintentional cut, and so it hints of having been used in a struggle. Most importantly, we are told that certain knives have the DNA of Rigby on them. However, we are never told about specifics – which knife has overlapping DNA, if any. This is information that could have been produced at court, and it would have needed to be if the trial was a serious attempt to convict criminals. However, why this information is not imparted to the public is a complete mystery.

Ultimately, because a weapon has the DNA of both the accused and the victim on it, it never proves that the victim was murdered by the accused – it only contributes to an apparent weight of evidence in favour of the prosecution. However, if other evidence is especially contrary, then a conviction should not really be attainable by the strength of the DNA evidence alone – these things can be fabricated.

On a fundamental level, we do have images of the two Michaels with what looks like blood-soiled implements. However, we can’t know that that soiling is from blood, and we aren’t allowed to know if these same knives that we can witness are the ones that have Rigby’s DNA on them. We cannot make a judgement.

5. The human material residue left upon the two Michaels should be feasible given the injuries to Rigby as seen on video and as reckoned by the coroner

Fig. 85 – Adebowale looks like he is going to a job interview.

Fig. 85 – Adebowale looks like he is going to a job interview.

The video taken of Adebolajo as he talks to the people by the Number 53 bus door is said by officialdom to show him covered with blood. Much has been made of his supposedly blood drenched hands. Additionally, Adebolajo’s cuffs are supposed to show exposure to blood, and the substance is supposed to be down the front of his top. We’ll return to this matter momentarily; firstly it must be noted that Adebowale did not receive the same attention, and this is because Adebowale was never quite so in the forefront as Adebolajo was, but it could also have to do with the fact that Adebowale looked quite clean. In fact, Adebowale was wearing a light ochre coat that looked very vulnerable to showing spilled blood, and yet his appearance after the attack is in fact immaculate. At one point the author thought that a shadow at the hem at the bottom of Adobowale’s coat was a black patch of something – but closer inspection in the Bus Footage put that to rest. Remarkably, in that footage, one cannot help but notice how shiny and clean Adebowale’s shoes are (see Fig 85). It’s as though he got dressed to go to an interview, and after he had supposedly killed someone, he could have still attended. There is no sign that Adebowale had been within a foot of a profusely bleeding man who was spraying out. If we knew from whence he was supposed to have struck Rigby, we might be able to construct a better picture – perhaps all the more reason why we do not have this information. If Adebowale did not get hit by the results of Adebolajo’s efforts at decapitation apparently), then he was being violent enough on his own to create spatter. But then in that case, where are the obvious dark patches all over Adebowale’s clean and light coloured coat?

With Adobolajo’s clothes, when we inspect the footage of him, there sometimes seems to be patches where the fabric of his top has been reddened on a pair of front pockets. Another patch appears in the area between these pockets. It’s rather like what one would expect to see by touching or wiping the area with bloody hands. The cuff on the sleeve of Adebolajo’s right arm appears to have splotches of blood on it. There is, however, nowhere on Adebolajo the amount of blood, or the pattern that we should expect to see if he had been in close proximity to a severed major artery. Having pointed that out, at other times when inspecting these images, none of this discolouration can be detected by the author.

The issue of the blood on Adebolajo’s hands has been controversial. Generally his hands look caked with blood because of the reddish hue to them; and there is a quality about the colour that makes the hands look freshly covered in blood. Some critics say that special effects have been added to the footage to extenuate the redness of the hands, especially in the case of the ITN-Kipre Footage, which was the footage shown on British TV on the night of the incident, and was the version that really condemned Adebolajo in the court of public opinion. This footage shows the hands being extremely red and, according to critics, leaving a trail behind the gesticulations as supposed camera tricks reveal themselves (see Fig. 88). However, the author is not convinced and thinks this is just due to the quality of some digital video.

Fig. 86 – the third angle footage. The author thought that this was the Sun’s, but the logo does not appear.

Fig. 86 – the third angle footage. The author thought that this was the Sun’s, but the logo does not appear.

Fig. 87 – the same moment as in Fig 97. Adebolajo is looking straight at camera.  The hands are very red.

Fig. 87 – the same moment as in Fig 86. Adebolajo is looking straight at camera. The hands are very red.

Fig. 88 – the same moment as Figs. 86 and 87, this time in the ITN-Kipre Footage, which is the one broadcast on TV the night of the incident, therefore should be considered the primary version for establishing Adebolajo as “caught red handed”.

Fig. 88 – the same moment as Figs. 86 and 87, this time in the ITN-Kipre Footage, which is the one broadcast on TV the night of the incident, therefore should be considered the primary version for establishing Adebolajo as “caught red handed”.

Fig. 89 – this image has been included in an attempt to help the reader see blood stains across the front of Adebolajo’s top.

Fig. 89 – this image has been included in an attempt to help the reader see blood stains across the front of Adebolajo’s top.

On the other hand, one particular version of what at first inspection appears to be the Sun Angel Footage shows Adebolajo’s hand palms as being more of an orange colour, instead of a very scarlet red (see Fig. 86). It has been argued that this is a version that has also been colour modified – however, the interesting thing about this version is that it doesn’t have the Sun logo on it. This means that it is could quite possibly be the raw image – i.e. it could have been released before the Sun could process it. However, on closer inspection it seems as if this footage is actually not the same as the Sun Angel Footage – it has definitely been taken from a different perspective. In the Sun Angel Footage, Adebolajo looks straight into camera (see Fig. 87). In this other footage, Adebolajo looks slightly to the right. Before understanding that this was a third separate piece of footage showing Adebolajo at the bus – one that therefore had not been anywhere a corporate-media outlet – the author tended to think that Adebolajo really did have a substance on his hands that had caused discolouration. The Bus Footage, which also appeared to be a raw piece of footage, also showed that Adebolajo’s hands  had been coloured by a red liquid – this was a separate source showing Adebolajo at a different moment in Woolwich Angel or waiting phase, so it seemed to corroborate the primary source (i.e. the ITN-Kipre Footage). However, the revelation of a third camera at the bus showing something different is a big problem for that understanding. It also means that we perhaps should not consider the Bus Footage to be raw.

Verdict: It is without a doubt that in the footage neither Adebowale or Adebolajo have enough blood on them, nor in anything like the correct pattern of delivery, to signify that they had been near a man who had had main arteries severed. The patterns of blood on Adebolajo look like they come stem from one place – his hands. His cuffs are adjacent, of course, and the staining on his front looks like transferred material from the hands. So, what we are seeing here is evidence of Rigby bleeding onto Adebolajo’s hands, and then the material spreading elsewhere through Adebolajo’s other activity. The same effect could have been created using a bag of fake blood opened up on the hands. Adebowale, on the other hand, appeared too averse to dirt that he didn’t want to come anywhere near even a bag of theatrical makeup.

To respond to the statement that forms the title of this section, the residue material on the two Michaels better matches the injuries to Rigby as shown on the video rather than as reckoned by the coroner – after all, those two things do not corroborate. In the video, Rigby looks to have staining on his hands – arguably, if he was lifted into the road in a manner that involved Adebolajo grabbing this hand, it is feasible that this “blood” was transferred onto Rigby in the same way that other “blood” was transferred onto Adebolajo’s clothes.

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[1] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/26/lee-rigby-murder-judges-speech-sentencing

[2] http://live-news.sky.com/Event/Live_Updates_Woolwich_Murder_Trial_2

[3] http://live-news.sky.com/Event/Live_Updates_Woolwich_Murder_Trial_2

[4] http://live-news.sky.com/Event/Live_Updates_Woolwich_Murder_Trial_2

[5] live-news.sky.com/Event/Live_Updates_Woolwich_Murder_Trial_3