25 – Adebolajo’s Testimony

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Adebolajo was subject to a number of police interrogations – the author understands there to have been 4 – and at least one of them was videotaped, and the tape played to the court. This interview was conducted on June 1st , 2013, according the MailOnline article referred to below. An extract from the footage was made available to the public, but it actually lasted quite a considerable length of time, and in it Adebolajo delivered a monologue without many cues from police – Adebolajo would not let police interrupt to ask questions, apparently.

Fig. 109 – the tale of Adebolajo and the blue blanket. Why did he remove it to give a pseudonym, and then replace for the rest of the interview?

Fig. 109 – the tale of Adebolajo and the blue blanket. Why did he remove it to give a pseudonym, and then replace for the rest of the interview?

For some reason in this extract, Adebolajo wears a blue blanket over his head – one is reminded of the Blackadder scene when a prisoner, who has already been executed, has an audience with the Queen. If the interviewee was indeed Adebolajo, and not some other character in a not very good disguise, then one immediately wonders about this behaviour. In the Rigby-watching community, the possibility has been raised of the blue blanket being a trigger for an altered state of mind, or for things remembered under hypnosis to be made to come to the fore so that Adebolajo has a separate personality that will acquiesce to accusations of being involved in the incident. This is all speculation of course and there is no way to prove it or otherwise. However, we can let the situation inform a general perception about Adebolajo’s frame of mind – in other words, was he in his right mind during the incident if thereafter in police custody he displayed odd and unusual behaviour. His actual testimony given during the interview may also hint at a psychological disconnect between him and his actions on the day. We’re going to look at his statement first and then analyse everything, but while the reader peruses Adebolajo’s  words, mark above all else the fact that he leaves the decision to kill, and in fact the tactics of the kill, to an outside agent:

We decided to wait in the vicinity of the barracks that is in Woolwich.

By the command of Allah, by Allah’s decree, whilst waiting to find a soldier because between us we decided that the soldier is the most fair target because he joins the Army with kind of an understanding that your life is at risk when you join, you know.

So we sat in wait and it just so happened that he was the soldier that was spotted first.

At this point the tape stops for members of the public. All the other information we have from the interview is reported in the media.

When I thought about obeying Allah in the past I thought maybe it is possible to kill a man by driving into him.

When he crossed the road in front of me so casually it was almost as if I was not in control of myself. I accelerated, I hit him and I think I also crashed into a sign post.

We did not wish to give him much pain – I could see he was still alive. We exited the vehicle and I am not sure how I struck the first blow.

The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular, this is what I believe, this is how we kill our animals in Islam. He may be my enemy but he is a man – so I struck at the neck and attempted to remove his head.’

[Rigby was the] non-Muslim version of myself and my brother Ismail [Adebowale]… To be killed on the battlefield is not something we shy away from and in fact this is something that Allah loves.

‘So we sat in wait and it just so happened that he was the soldier that was spotted first’: Police video of how killer recalled hunt for a random victim ‘by Allah’s decree’[1]; Martin Robinson; 19 December 2013.

The point about Adebolajo not being sure if he struck a road sign has been observed as being odd previously, but also look at how he is also not sure about how he started the knife attack. Does this strike the reader as a man in possession of right thinking mental faculties?

Fig. 110 – Adebolajo in a fit state of mind?

Fig. 110 – Adebolajo in a fit state of mind?

A bigger problem for this testimony is the real possibility that there was no way that Adebolajo and Adebowale could have known for certain that Rigby was a soldier. Amanda Bailey, who also saw Rigby before he was struck, said he looked a like a “young man coming home from college”. Rigby wasn’t wearing fatigues, he wasn’t coming out of the barracks. His rucksack may have had camouflage trimmings, but so what? The two new and fervent Muslims thought they had orders from Allah to kill only enemy combatants – they wouldn’t have taken any chances if the thought they might be killing a civilian.

Despite this, at trial it was decided that Adebolajo and Adebowale were quite aware that Rigby was a soldier. In his sentencing, the judge addressed the following to the two perpetrators:

It was whilst you were waiting that Lee Rigby walked past. He was instantly recognisable as being a soldier as he was wearing a “Help for Heroes” top and carrying his Army day sack.

Lee Rigby murder: the judge’s sentencing speech in full[2]; Press Association; 26 February 2014.

This cannot be true, unfortunately for presiding Judge Sweeney, In fact, Adebolajo was never sure that Lee Rigby was a soldier, and he relied on other signs, as his testimony in court reveals:

I don’t believe there’s a way to know 100% that was a soldier, however there were some steps that we took.

For example before we started out on that day and the night previous to that I started worshipping Allah and begging him that we strike a soldier and a soldier only.

I continued to pray to Allah to ensure that we did not target anyone outside the permissible…

[Running Rigby down]… was not something that was premeditated. It just so happened Allah caused him to cross in front of my car.

“…I’m a soldier and I’m doing what Allah commanded me to do.

Lee Rigby trial: Michael Adebolajo tells court killing was justified ‘because he is soldier at war’[3]; Adrian Shaw; 10 December 2013.

Here Adebolajo reveals that he was compelled to kill Rigby based on some other intangible motivation than recognising him visually as a soldier. This compelling force also convinced him that he was killing a soldier. In fact, there is no way in the world that anyone could have certainly recognised Rigby as a soldier from his appearance – and Adebolajo certainly did not claim that either. This hints at other things going on. Remember, Adebolajo described that he did not feel in control of himself when Rigby was crossing the road in front of him – this sounds like a response to a trigger. When one considers this is conjunction with his cognitive dissonance regarding hitting the sign post, or hitting Rigby with his weapons, we could be seeing indicators of a mind set up to respond uncritically, and without understanding why, to certain stimulus. We could be seeing the description of the responses of an abnormal psychological state.

However, officially, there was nothing wrong with Adebolajo mentally:

The jury heard how Tim McInerney, a forensic psychiatrist, said Adebolajo showed “no regret or remorse” and was not suffering from any mental illness.

Lee Rigby murder suspect Michael Adebolajo told police, ‘Tony Blair wicked and corrupt’, court hears[4]; Tom Whitehead; 04 December 2013.

It seems extraordinary that a layman, from a distance reading a text, can recognise the dislocation that Adebolajo clearly describes, and find it suggestive of a mental defectiveness, and yet a qualified expert can have direct personal access to the man and not have the first inkling about it – or perhaps not have done his job thoroughly as he should in order to have Adebolajo reveal this striking phenomena on a first hand basis?

There is another issue surrounding the identification of Rigby by the perpetrators that needs addressing. Adebowale didn’t stop incriminating himself after the event, and even confessed to paramedics on his way to receive hospitalisation. While under the care of hospital staff, and under armed guard, he continued to make statements. The content of one, made on the evening of 23rd May 2013, was as follows:

My intention was never to harm any civilians.

There were women and children around. My intention was to hurt military only. He was in his kit, in his uniform, coming in and out of the barracks.

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as police officer tells court of moment she thought she would be killed[5]; Paul Cockerton; 03 December 2013.

Now, although this looks like a statement of admission from Adebolajo, it is in fact something reported to the court by a PC Melita Vejnovic. To be completely clear, this was something that Vejnovic told the court that Adebolajo had said to her[6]. It transpired that Adebolajo refused to sign this statement. Perhaps this all came out when Adebolajo’s defence counsel, Gottlieb, cross examined this police officer. The extent of the interchange was not fully reported in the media. However, from the pieces we have, it becomes clear that Gottlieb must have been questioning how Adebolajo’s statement could contain a description of Lee Rigby wearing uniform.  In fact, some kind of explanation does appear in the corporate-media:

Mr. Adebolajo’s lawyer, David Gottlieb, later cross-examined one of the prosecution witnesses, Melita Vejnovic, a female police officer who had guarded Mr. Adebolajo in hospital, questioning whether she had followed correct procedures when trying to take a statement from one of the accused.

Court Hears Women Ignored Threats To Try To Help Rigby[7]; Alexis Flynn; 03 December 2013.

The interchange, as much as we know about it, was presented in the Mirror newspaper’s reportage as follows – which contains some surprising follow through court action as well:

In cross-examination, David Gottlieb, representing Adebolajo, suggested that his client did not mention the victim was ‘in his kit’.

“I’m going to suggest that you would have known full well that the soldier was not wearing full uniform.”

PC Vejnovic replied: “I was not aware of what the soldier was wearing at all.”

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney then suggested that Mr Gottlieb got to the point and put forward what Adebolajo did in fact say.

Mr Gottlieb replied that his client could not remember what he said and added: “I suggest I am doing my duty in a very difficult case.

“This is a murder trial not a Sunday school outing.”

After the outburst, the judge sent the jury out of court.

When the trial resumed, the judge told the jury not to hold Mr Gottlieb’s outburst against the defendant.

He said: “In a case of this type there are obvious pressures in play.

“Mr Gottlieb has made a handsome apology for our passage of arms just before you retired.

“I have accepted that apology. The one thing that is vitally important is that you don’t hold that against Mr Gottlieb but also not against his client.

“There is a simple issue here in the officer’s evidence and you can consider it in due course on its merits.”

Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as police officer tells court of moment she thought she would be killed[8]; Paul Cockerton; 03 December 2013.

What is the meaning of all this? Gottlieb seems to be suggesting that Adebolajo, in any statement, wouldn’t have described Lee Rigby as being in his kit. Furthermore, he is also accusing the female officer of knowing that Rigby wasn’t in his kit. In short, the suggestion is that Vejnovic had invented a statement, and couldn’t have done it by mistake. In other words, that it wasn’t just a procedural error, but activity that indicated corruption. Vejnovic made the non-committal answer so as not to deny or admit to the accusation, and then the judge stepped in to steer the matter away from Vejnovic’s potentially committing perjury should the line of enquiry continue on the same course – this is the author’s interpretation in any case. The judge made it a matter of what Adebolajo did or didn’t say in this statement, rather than the rights and wrongs of it being considered a statement made by Adebolajo. So, even though the statement did not belong to Adebolajo, it was being presented as being his, and the onus was placed on Adebolajo to prove that it didn’t say what Vejnovic said it did. This is a very strange manifestation of British justice, and the author is given to understand that what followed was very unusual indeed. Gottlieb’s comments about the murder trial not being a Sunday outing are very revealing, and the whole incident perhaps was indicative of some frustration on his part regarding the whole operation.

When it comes to the mental state of Adebowale, then things are easier to discern. He was recommended for treatment at Broadmoor even before the trial began. He didn’t give testimony because of his mental state, but conveniently he made an admission to doctors examining him, which they conveyed to the court:

Dr Boast told the court that before the trial started Adebowale had shown himself to be “paranoid and incoherent.”

He added: “In respect of people he doesn’t know, he hears them speaking in Nigerian accents and they tell him what he is expected to do. He is going to brush his teeth and as he is doing it they are speaking to him. This is a clear symptom of psychosis”…

In evidence that can only be reported now psychiatrist Professor Nigel Eastman told the court that he had asked Adebowale point blank if he had intended to kill drummer Rigby and he replied “Yes.”

Lee Rigby murderer Adebowale ‘is borderline schizophrenic recommended for Broadmoor[9]; Paul Cheston et al; 19 December 2013.

Despite the fact that he was apparently so unwell, we are told the following:

Doctors did certify he was fit to enter a plea to the charges he faced but he did not give evidence to the jury.

Lee Rigby murderer Adebowale ‘is borderline schizophrenic recommended for Broadmoor[10]; Paul Cheston et al; 19 December 2013.

This perhaps doesn’t do the issue of Adebowale’s mental health justice.  The murder trial had to be delayed at the start because of claims that he was mentally ill.

Adebowale was found unfit due to his ‘psychotic state’, which included hearing Nigerian voices in his cell at HMP Belmarsh and paranoid fears about being attacked and walking through doorways.

He talked about being influenced by ‘djinns’ or spirits and was heard saying: ‘I think I’m possessed.’

…When Adebowale was transferred to the prison’s mental health wing he went on a hunger strike in protest.

The prison psychiatrist, Dr Ian Cumming, approved Adebowale’s transfer to Broadmoor Mental Hospital on November 14 – just four days before the trial was listed at the Old Bailey.

Adebowale was then assessed by a series of psychiatrists while at court to check whether he was fit to stand trial.

All four – Dr Neil Boast from Broadmoor, Professor Nigel Eastman, Dr Philip Joseph and Dr Cumming – found he was fit under the ‘Pritchard criteria’ – meaning he could give instructions to his barrister and was able to give evidence.

However Dr Boast and Professor Eastman advised delaying the trial for between a month and two months.
Adebowale has a history of mental illness going back to 2008 when he was stabbed and saw his friend murdered.

On 26 November the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, ruled that the trial could go ahead and prosecutor Richard Whittam QC finally opened the case on 29 November.

The trial ground to a halt again on 10 December just before Adebowale was due to give evidence.

Abbas Lakha QC, representing Adebowale, told the court he had concerns about his client’s ‘wellbeing’ and asked for time for him to be re-assessed by the psychiatrists.

But Adebowale revealed that he had been shown a statement from Adebolajo that Adebowale did not need to give evidence.

Dr Joseph added: ‘His position was that he wants to give evidence but he is not going to because he has been advised not to.’

In total the trial was delayed by more than 12 court days as a result of the mental health issue.

The final insult: Court terror for Lee Rigby’s family as his Muslim killers are dragged from dock shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ while fighting prison guards – before judge tells them life will NOT mean life[11]; Martin Robinson et al; 26 February 2014.

What to make of all this? It appears that Adebowale was mentally ill at the time of the incident, and there was a real effort made to get him fit to give evidence and admit his guilt on the record. He proved to be incapable, and conveniently it came to pass that he didn’t have to participate in his trial in the end. As for Adebolajo, a question certainly remains as to whether or not he was in his right mind when the incident took place; as such, we don’t know if Adebolajo’s admission of guilt is to be trusted, and of course, Adebowale never admitted anything that we heard him admit with his own lips.

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[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2526269/So-sat-wait-just-happened-soldier-spotted-Police-video-killer-recalled-hunt-random-victim-Allah-s-decree.html

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

[3] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/lee-rigby-trial-michael-adebolajo-2909196

[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10495933/Lee-Rigby-murder-suspect-Michael-Adebolajo-told-police-Tony-Blair-wicked-and-corrupt-court-hears.html

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

[6] http://www.channel4.com/news/lee-rigby-adebolajo-adebowale-woolwich-old-bailey

[7] http://www.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304854804579236403440634712?mod=_newsreel_2

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

[9] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/lee-rigby-murderer-adebowale-is-borderline-schizophrenic-recommended-for-broadmoor-9015617.html

[10] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/lee-rigby-murderer-adebowale-is-borderline-schizophrenic-recommended-for-broadmoor-9015617.html

[11] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2568317/Justice-Lee-Rigby-Soldiers-family-arrive-court-wearing-matching-t-shirts-act-solidarity-ahead-sentencing-two-Muslim-converts-murdered-him.html