London: One of the two main suspects, charged with murdering a British soldier in a terror attack on a busy London street last week, on Thursday appeared in handcuffs in a court here to confirm his name and address. Michael Adebowale, a 22-year-old Londoner of Nigerian descent, spoke only to confirm his name and address during a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London.
He was remanded in custody and will appear next at the Old Bailey court in London on Monday. Adebowale was charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, by detectives from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command yesterday after spending six days in hospital as a result of being shot by police following the street attack in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22.
Adebowale, who has also been charged with possession of a firearm, arrived in an escorted police van and appeared in court with a bandaged hand amid tight security, including helicopters circling above the courthouse. Dressed in a grey top and flanked by officers, he was told he did not need to stand up in the dock because of the injuries he sustained as he was shot by police.
A second suspect and co-conspirator, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, caught on camera soon after the attack on Lee Rigby and also shot by armed police officers remains under arrest at a London hospital. "Following the release of Michael Adebowale from hospital, we have authorised the police to charge him with the murder of Drummer Rigby. We have also authorised police to charge him with possession of a firearm, contrary to section 16A of the Firearms Act 1968," said Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime and Counter-terrorism Division.
"There is sufficient evidence to prosecute Michael Adebowale and it is in the public interest to do so... This man is now charged with serious criminal offences and he has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial," she added. Results of a post-mortem examination released on Wednesday found that the soldier died of "multiple incised wounds".
A minute's silence was held in Woolwich just before 14:20 BST on Wednesday, exactly a week after the event, followed by spontaneous applause. "I am devastated by the loss of Lee who was a loving fiance. I am extremely proud of him...," the soldier's fiancee Aimee West said in a statement.
Scotland Yard said the inquest into Lee Rigby's death would open at Southwark Coroner's Court on Friday. Police across Britain have arrested eight other people in connection with the investigation so far, six of whom have been bailed and two released without charge.