The fifth “Woolwich Angel”, Vicki Cave, went unnamed long after Tina Nimmo’s identity was revealed in the corporate-media. In fact, her name wasn’t released until the trial – she and Tina Nimmo were the only “Angels” to give witness testimony. She had caused a big stink in the world of Rigby-watchers because of how the official story continued until the very end to not acknowledge her presence. Why ever could have this have been? Vicki Cave is the woman with blonde hair and blue denim jacket who was filmed standing close to Rigby’s body and seemingly interacting with the others also there. What makes Vikki Cave really interesting is how she represents lost opportunities to tend to Lee Rigby medically – that’s what this chapter is really all about. How it came about that no one checked thoroughly to see if Rigby could be helped with medical attention is a route to a big insight about at least one of the people who gathered around Rigby that day.
Briefly in this chapter we will also look at Vikki Cave’s story to see if it makes any sense in contrast with what the footage can tell us. It seems she was the last to arrive – if we believe the fact that Nimmo had already been on the scene. She is the fourth to be photographed by the body – let’s put it that way. The “bumper clock” is at 11 when we see Vikki Cave on site first, and she is still there as Adebolajo kicks the clock to the 8 position. After that we don’t see her any more – presumably she walks to the bottom of Artillery Place, because that is where she is caught in imagery taken during the rest of the incident. In fact, in the iconic image of Kennett talking to Adebowale, Vikki Cave can be seen standing near the green. She is seen in the Mirror footage on the green after the police shoot out. When the uniformed police are chasing everyone off, Vikki Cave can be seen in the ITN-Kipre footage trying to communicate with one of them – she is rebuffed. In a still taken much later, Vikki Cave can be seen hanging about outside the cordon perimeter free to go if she wants to (see Fig. 238). She seems like a prime witness, and she did give a written testimony at court – at some point police must have contacted her, but at the time they weren’t very interested.
Vikki Cave came to the scene in her car, as a look at her trial witness testimony in a moment will reveal. Like the Donnellys claim, Vikki Cave was driving past, but unlike them, Cave doesn’t give any detail about parking or anything else about her driving that could be used to discredit her story. The only piece of detail that came to the public about Vikki Cave’s arrival was this:
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said Ms Cave was driving down John Wilson Street in Woolwich when she saw Drummer Rigby in the road.
Covered in blood and wielding a gun: Moment police shoot armed men ‘after they murdered soldier Lee Rigby on streets of Woolwich’; Martin Robinson et al; 04 December 2013.
We should check to see if this is possible. If one looks at the camera-phone footage, there is one clip that shows Vikki Cave on site, and behind her, at the bottom of Artillery Place, is a car parked roughly across the pedestrian crossing at the bottom of the road (see Fig. 181). It is also pointing, seemingly, towards the exit of Artillery Place. We’ve already speculated that this car could be the one which brought the Donnellys, but whose ever it is, it wouldn’t have arrived since the beginning of the waiting period – the road from the west was blocked off. That means it would have been there when Vikki Cave drove past the junction. Any view directly up that lane from the junction with John Wilson would have been blocked. In the other lane of Artillery Place, the bus was already in position of course. How is Vikki Cave supposed to see Lee Rigby in the road? On the other hand, Artillery Place is on a hill, which means that anything further up it is also higher in the air – elevated, perhaps, above objects at the bottom of the hill. In any case, there is no way that we can say that Vikki Cave couldn’t see the body. In fact, Cave’s behaviour and movements on the day, and the fact that a big media circus was not created around her makes the author think that Vikki Cave is entirely organic and was a stray element in the event.
Even her exit from the core scene could be explainable in terms of her being a stray element. It is entirely likely that Cave was asked to move on by the same person who also approached Ingrid Loyau Kennett. Examine the extracts:
[Ten minutes passed] Then, a woman from the crowd asked Mrs Loyau-Kennett to step back. “I told her I wasn’t leaving; as long as I don’t see professionals here, I’m staying. He [not clear which Michael she is referring to] knows me; he knows I’m calm. I’m not afraid whatsoever. I’ll stay until something happens.”
Woolwich attack: ‘I looked him in the eye. I was sure he wasn’t going to kill me’; Sarah Rainey; 23 May 2013.
[While talking to Adebowale] A woman then approached Loyau-Kennett tentatively and asked her to leave. “I was worried that leaving might have tipped him over the edge,” she says. “So I said I would rather stay here talking and keeping him busy. The lady then asked me if I knew his intentions. I said he wanted to fight and kill the police when they come.”
But then Loyau-Kennett noticed her bus starting to pull away. [And she leaves].
Woolwich attack witness Ingrid Loyau-Kennett: ‘I feel like a fraud’; Leo Hickman; 27 May 2013.
In this extract from another article, Kennett has been talking to Adebolajo.
During this exchange Ingrid listened for signs that the police were, indeed, approaching. She had not phoned them, but trusted that someone in the crowd of onlookers had.
‘I could hear sirens far away and then they stopped. I thought, “Come on guys”,’ she says. ‘After a few minutes, a small emergency vehicle came. It slowed, stopped – then left. I thought, “What the heck is going on?”
‘Much later, I realised it must have been the police. Then a plain-clothed lady approached, looked at the body, and left. By then the older guy had given the meat cleaver to his friend. It was the only time they had contact while I was there.
‘Then the older guy – the one I’d been talking to – walked over to the other side of the road, so I used the time to speak to the younger man.
‘He was standing in front of the bonnet of the crashed car. I didn’t want to scare him, to upset him, so I walked, not directly at him, but sideways and said, “Are you OK?” He seemed shy, reluctant to talk. I said, “Would you like to give me what you have in your hand?” He was holding the cleaver, the butcher’s knife, but I didn’t want to say the word, “weapon”. He shook his head.’
Ingrid then remembers a woman – plainly dressed in sensible shoes – approaching her and asking if she knew what the man’s intentions were.
‘And at that point the penny dropped. I realised she was from the police.’
The Angel of Woolwich – who stared death in the face on Britain’s darkest day – launches our hunt for Britain’s most inspirational women; Frances Hardy; 04 September 2013.
Take notice of the mention of the emergency services vehicle – it was indeed a paramedic’s car, not the police, as we’ll see later (and we’ll get into why it didn’t stay). And actually, we can probably understand that any sirens heard by the like of Kennett were feasibly ambulances coming to the perimeters of the scene. Back to the point, and one thing is clear from Kennett’s story – the woman who suggested she leave did so near the end of the waiting phase; notice that Kennett reports that Adebolajo has by this time moved to the bus to begin his rant, and Kennett also thinks that the bus is leaving. I would suggest that the “plain-clothed lady” also mentioned is a completely different woman to this new one – obviously that one approached much earlier in the timeline, and she had only a cursory inspection. It is quite possible that Kennett was talking of Cave in this case. Vikki Cave was plainly dressed – this is what Kennett must have meant – and she was caught on scene in a photograph when the paramedic car went through it. Kennett is very likely referring to her. As for the person that Kennett thought was a plain-clothed police lady – there is only one other person who we know of that claimed to go near the body: Tina Nimmo. However, this in no way means that Nimmo is this person. There is a lot of footage that we haven’t been able to see, and other people could have entered the scene that we didn’t know about.
While this diversion has been immensely interesting, and we have learnt that Kennett might have thought that Nimmo was police, we must move back to the real purpose of this chapter: the lost opportunities to tend medically to Lee Rigby.
First of all, we’ll examine what Vikki Cave told the court:
“I noticed people standing around. I saw a body in the street, a lady crying.
“My first thought was to stop because someone had been run over. I spoke to the lady who said ‘he’s been stabbed’.”
As a first aid trainer I wanted to check to see if I could do anything.
‘I saw the mixed race lady sat on the floor. She said “there’s nothing to be done, he’s gone.”
He was wearing a blue help for heroes top. I could see a lot of blood and could tell a major artery had been severed.
Miss Cave described how both men were armed with knives and machete.
She added: “The taller man had blood on his hands.
“He was saying, shouting stuff about religion ‘these solders go to our lands, kill / bomb our people, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’
“I spoke to him: ‘Are you going to hurt her?’
“He replied: ‘No, women and children are safe. You need to keep back when the police and army arrive.’
“They then started talking about soldiers and Afghanistan and the damage done.”
Recap: Lee Rigby trial updates as police officer tells court of moment she thought she would be killed; Paul Cockerton; 03 December 2013.
The big problem in her testimony, however, is the way that she accepted being told that nothing could be done for Lee Rigby. Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, in interviews she gave to media, told of how she tried to examine the body even after Amanda Donnelly had told her that he was already dead. This is what Kennett had to say:
“I went to the body and started to take his pulse,” she says, speaking rapidly in a strong French accent. “But a Caribbean lady kneeling by his side said, ‘No, no, no, he’s dead.’” I asked if she was sure, and she said ‘Yes’.”
Loyau-Kennett still felt for a pulse because her first-aid training made her think a severed artery in his arm might have weakened the flow of blood to the wrist. “Then this black guy said to me, ‘Don’t touch the body. Go away.’”
Woolwich attack witness Ingrid Loyau-Kennett: ‘I feel like a fraud’; Leo Hickman; 27 May 2013.
Perhaps not everyone would not want to make sure that there was nothing more to be done to save the life of a dying man, but Kennett demonstrated the natural impulse that everyone should possess to do so. Additionally, Cave had first aid training, and she also teaches it, by her own admission. Could she know Amanda Bailey’s credentials at all in order to make a judgement regarding the veracity of what she was being told? Of course not. And so, her statement makes it clear that she came to a conclusion that she would not intervene based on other evidence. She said that she saw lots of blood, and that a major artery had been cut. Presumably, she must have deduced the latter by the former, because as Amanda Donnelly reported, the raised hood over Rigby’s head hid injury in such a way as to render it undetectable – the following is from the interview with the Sunday People, in three pertinent extracts:
“He was lying on his front. I ran over. I knew he was dead. No one could have sustained the attack we witnessed and be alive. It would not be possible.
“There were streams of blood running down from the kerb.”
* * * *
“I knew there was nothing I could do for the poor guy – but kneeling over him and stroking him seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I wish there was more I could have done.
“It was strange, because as he was lying there the hood from his hoodie was up so I couldn’t see any serious wounds.
“He maybe had a bit of blood on his hands but that was it. My mind was not on what had happened to Lee, it was more ‘What can I do?’.
* * * *
“A woman came over and asked if Lee was all right.
“I just said, ‘No, he’s dead’.
“She wanted to take his pulse. I was in a daze, thinking, ‘Oh my God, what has just happened?’.
Woolwich attack: Angels who helped murdered soldier Lee Rigby relive horror for first time; Ben Griffiths; 16 June 2013.
The issue of the blood has been discussed at length, so the reader must judge for themselves regarding these participants observations of that. There might be an explanation if these observations are at odds with what has been presented here in that the participants might rationalise having seen blood to compensate for their feelings of uselessness, or insignificance, and not being able or trying to give first aid to Rigby.
That aside, the crux issue of this whole interaction is how Amanda Donnelly decided on Lee Rigby’s state of health without even a cursory examination, and then her attempt to stop others examining the body also. When she was disobeyed, Adebolajo reinforced her gate keeping to the body. Nobody, therefore, in the earliest stages investigated competently enough to see if Rigby could be saved, and it must be said that Donnelly essentially worked in concert with Adebolajo to prevent this from happening. The mystery to the author has always been how if Cave was such an expert on first aid, why would she trust Donnelly’s assertions? In the end it must come down to the way that Donnelly was reinforced by a man with a knife.
The observation of Vikki Cave having led the discussion to this point, it provides the perfect opportunity at this juncture to examine the phenomena of the emergency services vehicle that was mentioned by Kennett in one of her interviews. There is a connection to Vikki Cave because she was also on scene and saw it – it’s a moment that was captured on Mirror Footage (see Fig. 189) but for a long time no explanation was proffered as to what it meant.
First of all, there is the mystery of how this car managed to drive a route that no other car could find a way to. If we think that the first cordon of police immediately prevented traffic from going up Artillery Place, then we must concede that it weaved up the road the wrong way doing something that a normal car would not do because of its identity as an emergency vehicle, then maybe we would be closer to the truth. It’s perfectly reasonable for a paramedic to have been sent to the area, and arrived before a police cordon could be erected.
There is good reason why this paramedic didn’t park the car and start treating Rigby, and it is all to do with the UK Government’s dedication to tick-box bureaucracy. There is protocol whereby NHS first responders are not allowed to render any medical assistance to anyone on a crime scene while the police deem it unsafe to do so. There has to be understanding between the police and the ambulance personnel in the first instance in as much as the ambulance staff by default do not enter a named vicinity until green lighted by police.
This is confirmed by the testimony of a witness at the trial by the name of Daniel Middleton. This man was named as the first official responder; he was referred to as “first medic to arrive” on the scene, and as coming on his own, so it’s all official. He said this of the situation:
I was held in position from a police officer until confirmation came through the scene was safe to approach.
Lee Rigby murder trial: alleged killers ‘talked of religion and Afghanistan’; ‘News Agencies; 03 December 2013.
Daniel Middleton refers to the proper procedure, and says that he was forced to adhere to it (paramedics rarely, if ever, do not). So, there is a mystery, because clearly there was a paramedic’s vehicle driving through the scene very early on, by the official account it could not have been Middleton – and yet he was the first to arrive.
That being said, Middleton’s testimony throws doubt upon that certainty:
As I approached I saw a body on the ground in the middle of the road. I also saw a black male. He had what appeared to be two meat cleavers in both hands.
‘The motions he was making appeared as if he was sharpening the meat cleavers.
Covered in blood and wielding a gun: Moment police shoot armed men ‘after they murdered soldier Lee Rigby on streets of Woolwich’; Martin Robinson et al; 03 December 2013.
Given that the police cordon must have been well out of site according to all the images, and given that the paramedics are let through this cordon all at the same time after the armed police intervention, how could Daniel Middleton have seen this detail? Could it be that, after all, he did drive through the scene?
The answer to this was given out in a twitter from the account of Sky News reporter Mark White during the trial.
Greenwich based paramedic statement read out. Says he arrived at scene, but drove past after seeing one man with meat cleavers #woolwich
Paramedic says man with meat cleavers appeared to be sharpening them. He drove to the police cordon, until armed officers gained control
Live Updates: Woolwich Murder Trial; Mark White; 03 December 2013.
So, Daniel Middleton was driving the paramedic’s car to the police cordon. How did he do that, exactly? Where was he going along Artillery Place that he could exit that road with the Nimmo car and the white lorry double parked so as to block the route? Did the car turn around in the barracks rear access drive? In that case, he wasn’t driving past. The statement about Adebolajo sharpening meat cleavers is also fantastical, and appears to be gratuitous elaboration for the purpose of increasing the sense of danger to Middleton – the reason why he didn’t stay explained in emotional terms to the mass audience, rather than the real explanation of British institutional jobsworthness.
Finally, we find that the overhead shot that captures the paramedic car overlaps with the footage of Cave shot from the bus – or the Sun Angel Footage – by a second or so. This is how the scene is arranged and changes when it happens:
When the ambulance appears, Cave is standing at 1-o-clock if we imagine a clock face around Rigby (see Fig. 189 for reference). Kennett is standing at 3-o-clock. The ambulance passes, and Cave moves to half past 11, and Kennett moves to 4-o-clock. In this position, after the ambulance has passed, Kennett points twice at Adebolajo, who is standing uphill of the road sign by about 5 feet. This action is captured by both cameras. Before this exact point of overlap, in the Mirror Footage the car appears some 9 seconds before, and so the Sun Angel Footage starts tantalisingly close to capturing the paramedic car driving through the scene at ground level. If had begun earlier, it might have presented a much clearer view of what was going on, and would have solved the mystery of where the car went to.
Photos of the immediate aftermath of the incident from a helicopter show 3 predominantly neon yellow cars, and 2 vans of the same colouring, parked up at the junction end of Artillery Place. Obviously ambulance vehicles, all were allocated for possible casualties of an open air shootout between police and a couple of men sharing one gun between them – or for initial reports of a solitary single man who had been attacked? We can’t really say, because we don’t know what is standard procedure as such, that the ambulance crews looked like they knew to expect an outcome whereby they had to turn out as if they were responding to a major incident. This could be something, it could be nothing – it requires further information which is not at hand. In any case, as it turned out, nobody needed a fleet of medics.
So we cannot be certain that Lee Rigby’s body was given any cursory examination by any adequately trained individual. In fact, immediately after the police deal with the two perpetrators, and before the paramedics turn up, the body is surrounded by a number of people – people who are on the face of it civilians, and people who we know are police – either way, none are seen examining the body, and it should perhaps be the first thing for those people to have done.
Later on, as revealed in a still that was published by the Scottish version of the Daily Mirror, Lee Rigby’s body was covered with a red blanket (see Fig.169). In this particular image, paramedics are nowhere to be seen. It seems as though Rigby was pronounced dead by Amanda Donnelly, and then that judgement informed everyone else’s actions so that at the end, the only thing to do was to treat him as if he were dead. This seems very strange.