Muslim converts convicted of killing British soldier

Two British Muslim converts were found guilty of murder on December 19 after hacking a soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street in a gruesome killing that horrified the nation.

The murder, its impact magnified by video footage showing the culprits with blood soaked hands explaining their actions, provoked a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain, anti-Islamist street protests and government promises of tougher action on radical Islamist preachers.

British spy chiefs are also facing questions over whether they could have prevented the attack on Drummer Lee Rigby, charges that echo previous criticisms of the security services.

A jury at London’s Old Bailey criminal court took just over 90 minutes to unanimously find Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale guilty of murdering Rigby, an Afghan war veteran, near an army barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, on May 22.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it would ask the court to find that the murder was motivated by terrorism when the defendants come to be sentenced in January.

The Woolwich attack was the first killing by Islamist militants in London since four young British Muslims murdered 52 people in al Qaeda-inspired suicide bombings on the capital’s transport network in July 2005.