Witness to attack on Lee Rigby thought he would be shot, court hears

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2013 1:22 PM
Witness to attack on Lee Rigby thought he would be shot, court hears

LONDON (Reuters) - A man who confronted two suspects accused of hacking to death a soldier in broad daylight on a London street was on the verge of tears in court on Monday as he described having a gun pointed at him by one of the men.

James Henegan was driving past the scene of the attack with Cheralee Armstrong on May 22 when the pair got out of their car to see if they could help soldier Lee Rigby who had been knocked down and was being attacked with a knife.

Henegan, the second witness to appear for the prosecution, told the men to stop attacking the soldier and described how one of the pair approached him and pulled a firearm from a plastic bag.

"I thought he was going to fire the gun at us," Henegan said, holding back tears whilst in the Old Bailey witness box.

His eyes were "pure evil" and "bulging" Armstrong said in a statement read to the court by prosecutor Richard Whittam.

The court heard that Henegan had described the attack as the most traumatic thing he had ever witnessed.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, drove into and knocked down Rigby, 25, as he crossed a street in Woolwich, southeast London, before attacking his unconscious body with a meat cleaver and knives, the prosecutor told the court on Friday.

They dragged his body into the middle of the road for as many people to see as possible.

Defense lawyer David Gottlieb told the court Adebolajo wanted Henegan to know that there was nothing he could have done to stop the attack.

The killing horrified Britain and provoked an anti-Muslim backlash. Both men deny murder.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)