Jury out in British soldier murder trial

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Aimee West, right, the fiancee of Lee Rigby, and his sister Sarah McCLure, left, arrive at the Old Bailey in London on December 18, 2013. Picture: Toby Melville

London -

Jurors in the trial of two men accused of hacking a British soldier to death in a London street retired on Thursday to consider their verdicts.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of running over soldier Lee Rigby in a car, then attacking him with a meat cleaver and knives in broad daylight.

They are accused of murdering Rigby, and the attempted murder of a police officer, in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22.

In defence of the pair, jurors have heard how they considered themselves as “soldiers of Islam” and sought martyrdom through being shot by armed police.

In his summing up at the Old Bailey in London, England's central criminal court, judge Nigel Sweeney told the jury of eight women and four men that they must not be swayed by emotion.

“Guarding against speculation or emotion entering into your deliberations is particularly important in cases of this type. What's required of you is a cool, calm, careful and dispassionate consideration of the evidence.”

He has told the jury that Adebolajo's testimony that he was a “soldier of Allah” and therefore justified in his actions, did not amount to a defence in law to murder.

On the attempted murder charge, Sweeney told jurors that Adebolajo maintains that he ran towards armed police officers with a meat cleaver in an attempt to get shot, and did not intend to kill. - Sapa-AFP

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