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Court hears that busload of witnesses were filming the killers slashing at the soldier’s throat after traffic stopped in Woolwich.


A witness to the killing of Lee Rigby described how one of the alleged attackers had an expression of “pure evil” after “ramming” butcher’s knives into the fallen soldier, a jury has heard.

Cheralee Armstrong told police in a statement read to court on Monday that she thought she was going to be shot by the suspects after what looked like “they were mutilating his body”.

Describing the moments after the attack, Armstrong said “the man in the hat stared at me … his expression was blank but pure evil and his eyes were bulging”.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murdering Rigby, a drummer and machine-gunner in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, as he walked back to Woolwich military barracks on 22 May. The pair deny murder.

The widow of Rigby left court in tears as Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, read statements by a number of witnesses to the knife attack.

Armstrong said she saw one of the suspects “ramming two knives into him”, the jury heard. She added in a statement read to court: “It was like they were mutilating his body … it was like they were trying to remove his organs from his torso.”

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.

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”.

Perkins arrived at the scene with his colleague, Gill Hucks, who told police in a statement read to court: “What I witnessed next is what I can only describe as a horrific, frenzied attack by two knife- wielding, crazy men.”

The jury heard that Hucks described how she was screaming hysterically as one of the men, who she said was almost laying on top of Rigby, “cut into the victim’s neck from ear to ear”.

Saraj Miah, who was seen in a CCTV clip talking with a local shopkeeper near the scene, said after Rigby was run over, two armed men got out of the car. One of the two attackers pointed a gun at him (Miah) when he told them not to kill the soldier.

He said: “I thought that the two black men with knives were going to kill him. I told them not to kill him. They did not listen to me.”

One attacker slashed Fusilier Rigby’s throat while the other stabbed him, the court heard. “The black man in the passenger seat with knives in both his hands stabbed the fallen man six times in his chest.”

He described the man who had been driving the car walking around “as if nothing had happened”. Miah said the two men then “threw the body on the left lane of the road”.

“I was very shocked by the incident,” he added. “I could not sleep for two weeks.”

The trial continues.

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