UK

Lee Rigby Killer Michael Abebolajo Appeals Against Whole-Life Prison Sentence

08/04/2014 14:54 BST | Updated 18/12/2015 17:59 GMT

Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebolajo has launched an appeal against his whole-life prison sentence for the murder which would keep him behind bars the rest of his life, it has been confirmed.

Adebolajo was sentenced at the Old Bailey in February alongside Michael Abebowale for butchering the 25-year-old solider and father-of-one near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22 2013.

Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole-life term and told he had "no real prospect of rehabilitation" while his 22-year-old accomplice was jailed for life with a minimum term of 45 years.

But the Judicial Office confirmed on Tuesday Adebolajo had launched an appeal against his sentence.

Adebolajo and Adebowale chose the soldier as their victim because he was wearing a Help for Heroes hoodie. They ran him over in a car before hacking at his body with a meat cleaver and knives in an attempt to decapitate him.

Cameraphone footage of Adebolajo with bloodied hands at the murder scene circulated around the world.

michael adebolajo

Michael Adebolajo is appealing his whole-life prison sentence for murdering soldier Lee Rigby

When passing the sentences in February, Mr Justice Sweeney told the pair: "You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist, espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country."

The judge added: "You decided between you, and in order to advance your extremist cause, to murder a soldier in public in broad daylight and to do so in a way that would generate maximum media coverage, including getting yourselves killed by armed officers who would be bound to attend the scene in the aftermath of the murder - thereby expecting that you would become martyrs and each gain a place in paradise."

He cited Adebowale's younger age, mental health problems and "lesser role" in the killing as reasons not to sentence him to spending the rest of his natural life behind bars.

(GRAPHIC WARNING) Woolwich attack: Lee Rigby Murder