There is one iconic image of the aftermath of the police shootout that got on to Twitter and was snapped up by news organisations to be published in real-time reporting on the internet. This image appeared in a number of versions, but was basically the same information: a number of people standing around the body of Lee Rigby, some looking quite animated and agitated (see Fig 23). Given that this vignette has been a kind of Rosetta Stone for piecing lots of different disparate other bits of information together, perhaps there is some regret that these were so willingly published by unwitting news editors.
The people around the body are the bald man with the green jacket who previously was seen in the Shop Footage running across the road (see Fig. 31), a tall man with a hood concealing his head who is seen in several other bits of footage, the plain-clothed police man nicknamed Cream Hoodie, his associate, Tina Nimmo, Michelle Nimmo, and two men in fluorescent jackets. For those amongst these people not yet analysed, we are going to look at their history amongst the crowd in the footage. We are also going to try to understand what the composition of this image tells us about data we’ve already gathered – whether it reinforces any conclusions, notions or suspicions or indeed dispels them – and we are going to try and understand what it therefore tells us about the incident as a whole.
The first character to deal with is the bald man. It probably should be mentioned that this green-jacketed man bears more than a passing resemblance to someone who ITN identified as the trial witness Gary Perkins. Gary Perkins was photographed by ITN as he arrived at court (see Fig. 36). According to the Shop Footage, of course, it would be physically impossible for Gary Perkins and this man to be one and the same person because Perkins was supposedly in the Kia Picanto when this bald guy ran across the road behind it. This make the bald man, as we shall call him, the first of these characters to be on the scene according to the photographic record.
Imagining what went on here has to be coloured by what we can see in the iconic image in which this bald man seems very strident and it appears that he is the one person amongst them all doing all the talking while the others listen. It crosses the viewer’s mind that this man is actually the authority figure amongst the group – he seems to be in control. Is he in control of something when we see him in the Shop Footage having an interaction with Michael Adebolajo? Before seeing this image we could be forgiven for thinking that the bald man was just a passer-by coming forward to see how he could intervene – and who was cleared off. Now he could be getting involved to troubleshoot a problem, or give instruction.
Following The bald man in the scene after this incident, when he retreats back to the barracks’ side of the road, he seems to remain for while. It is here, standing on the kerb with folded arms, where he is seen when the Donnellys are talking to Adebolajo. During the rant by Adebolajo at the bus, he can be seen in the background, crossing in front of Nimmo’s Astra, to the other side of the road. In the mobile phone camera footage he is discovered standing on the corner of Rectory Place and Artilllery Place in a small crowd that contains other people he will meet again later – or very likely already knows (see Figs 194 & 195). Indeed, in the mobile phone footage he does seem to turn to his left as if to speak to someone. Amongst this group is a man wearing purple shoes – he turns out to be the hooded fellow who later congregates around the body. There is also here the man with the fluorescent jacket wearing the desert boots. There are others there, who cannot readily be identified – and there is one other who can; we’re going to deal with him later, but this is notice of his being in close proximity of the bald man and all his associates.
Before the police engagement, the bald man once again crosses to the other side of the road, and its from this position we are able to see him, in the Camera Phone footage, run to Rigby’s body in the road after the shootout has finished. This is where we came in.
The rest of the people in that photograph are much more minor characters, and we’ve already mentioned their whereabouts in connection with the people they are associated with. The hooded man, for instance, is one of those people that got escorted down Artillery Place by Cream Hoodie (see Fig. 170b). As it turns out, his purple shoes tell us that he was standing with the bald man behind the white lorry. Having been seen with both these characters, what are the chances of him being some kind of organic component in the incident? Speaking of which, how ironic is it that two of these men are wearing fluorescent jackets as if they were security? This being a hoax, it would be absolutely crucial that members of the public didn’t get an opportunity to have a look at the body. Finally, the black fellow’s close association with Cream Hoodie singles him out as potentially being another plain-clothed policeman.
We’ve met Michelle Nimmo before, but we haven’t yet had a close look at what she gets up to all the time she is in the background of some of the footage – and she is in a fair bit of it. The Sun published a still from their footage taken by the bus – and beside it revealing that originally this footage was filmed in very high resolution and was released pretending to be something of much lower quality – it shows Michelle Nimmo beside her car, which is where she tends to be found, pointing in the direction of the area behind the lorry (see Fig. 178). Conveniently, this is the place where we cannot see what is happening because of the obstacle of the lorry itself, but generally this is the area where lots of people who would make up the group around Rigby have been waiting, and from whence some of them and others would emerge to swing into whatever particular action they take.
This shot of Michelle Nimmo pointing isn’t an isolated incident. She is imaged doing quite a bit of it while standing at the door of her car. Is this normal behaviour for someone who is on site accidently? What could she possibly achieve from it in terms of her “cover” story? Her mother, Tina Nimmo, is at the bottom of Artillery Place. Who else does she know on scene? Well, the image of her standing around Rigby’s body may well show us the answer. Here she is seen to be pointing too – at least, she is either doing that, and at Cream Hoodie no less, or she is about to take something off of him. This becomes even more curious. The question we need to ask is this: does Michelle Nimmo’s actions denote pre-familiarity as opposed to completely new acquaintance? Granted, people don’t act normally in an abnormal situation, but then again we have to ask because this is an abnormal situation, why does Michelle Nimmo seem to have the run of it? Why is she, a civilian passer-by, allowed to get so close to the victim of a terrorist attack when there are obvious policemen around? And we’re not just talking about plain-clothed police – who she seems familiar with. What these stills don’t show, but the ITN-Kipre Footage does, is that a uniformed policeman walks past this group to get from the north to the south of Artillery Place (this has proven almost impossible to capture in a half-decent quality still). This policeman and another seem to have come from Rectory Place. The passing policeman is on his way to the group on the pavement, and what is remarkable about this is that the group he passes is standing around Rigby’s body. The only way that this could be feasible is if the police knew that those people had authority to do that.