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Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale found guilty of murdering Lee Rigby

The men had planned to be martyred by the police but the quick actions of the armed officers who arrived meant they were shot and disarmed but not killed.

His only regret was that he had not died himself.

The extremists admitted killing the father-of-one but tried to argue it was legitimate because they were “soldiers” attacking an enemy in the war between Muslims and the British public.

After the verdicts David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: “The whole country was completely shocked by the murder and the whole country united in condemnation at what happened.

Adebolajo and Adebowale, who are both Muslim converts, then charged at armed police when they arrived at the scene of the bloodbath in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22.

“We are satisfied that justice has been done, but unfortunately no amount of justice will bring Lee back.”

“Violence and extremism of any kind have absolutely no place in our society and cannot be justified.”

“They have sat in court with great dignity throughout what must have been the most harrowing of evidence,” the judge said.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, where the two week trial took place, Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The murder of Fusilier Rigby was brutal and its perpetrators carried out one of the most savage offences ever prosecuted by our counter terrorism lawyers.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor described the 25-year-old, who was with Second Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, as “a true warrior” and called his brutal death “a cruel tragedy”

Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner Cressida Dick, who heads counter-terrorism operations, said: “What happened to Lee that day has shocked and sickened people in London, the UK and far beyond. There’s nothing that can justify those atrocious actions.”

They will be sentenced on a date to be set.

They had been driving around looking for a soldier to target and he was the first they saw.

“We have to redouble our efforts to confront the poisonous narrative of extremism and violence and make sure we do everything to beat it.”

But the jury had been told to ignore the defence by the trial judge.

Giving evidence he said Al Qaeda were his “brothers in Islam” and that the death was a “military attack”.

Mr Rigby was knocked unconscious by a car driven at him from behind as he crossed the road close to his barracks.

In police interview, Adebolajo claimed the slaying had brought him “little joy” but said it was revenge for British foreign policy.

The pair were both cleared of a attempting to murder a police officer.

Mr Justice Sweeney expressed his “gratitude and admiration” to them as he acknowledged it was a case that will “stay with all of us for a long time”.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale (right) speak to a member of the public (PA)

It was described as one of the “most savage” cases ever prosecuted by counter terrorism lawyers.

As he was taken down to the cells Adebolajo kissed his Koran.

During the trial there were gasps as CCTV footage was shown of the Vauxhall Tigra, driven by Adebolajo, veering across the road and hitting Mr Rigby at 30 to 40mph.

The soldier, a father of one, was a member of the Corps of Drums with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Adebolajo got one shocked bystander to record his sickening boasts on a mobile phone just seconds after killing the Fusilier, who was just yards from his barracks. .

During two hours worth of interviews, wearing a blue blanket over his head, he said he was a “soldier of Allah” and that soldiers were a “fair target”.

Drummer Rigby’s mother, Lyn, said the killers should never be released while his stepfather Ian has suggested they should be treated the same way he was.

“But we must not forget that this appalling and public act of violence and terror also robbed his family and loved ones of a brave, young man with his life ahead of him. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

Adebolajo leapt from the vehicle and began hacking at his neck with a meat cleaver, virtually decapitating him, as Adebowale repeatedly stabbed him with a kitchen knife.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: “The sickening and barbaric murder of Drummer Lee Rigby united the entire nation in condemnation and I welcome the jury’s decision.

A jury found Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, guilty of murdering the 25-year-old after they ran him over and hacked him to death in broad daylight.

Witnesses had described the killing as “horrific and frenzied” and like someone attacking a “joint of meat”.

“Fusilier Rigby was a dedicated and professional young man whose life was taken in the most casual, brazen and horrific fashion, in broad daylight on the streets of London.”

In a statement as they left they said: “This has been the toughest time of our lives and no one should have to go through what we have been through as a family.

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said: “The murder of Lee Rigby was barbaric, heinous and completely unjustifiable.

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