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Conspiracy to murder officer charge dropped in Rigby case

DROPPED CHARGE: Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale sketched in court at the Old Bailey (PA)

THE TWO men who allegedly murdered soldier Lee Rigby now no longer face charges of conspiracy to murder a police officer, a jury has been told.

Despite the dropped charges, Michael Adebolajo, 29, from Romford, Essex, and Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, southeast London, still face counts of murdering fusilier Rigby, 25, and attempted murder of a police officer.

The defendants both deny those charges.

They are alleged to have run over the army drummer in a car and then hacked him with a meat cleaver and knives near Woolwich Barracks in southeast London on May 22.

Justice Sweeney told jurors at the Old Bailey they were discharged from any further consideration of one count of conspiracy to murder a police officer for each defendant.

He also told the jury that Adebolajo's claim to be a "soldier of Allah" was not a defence to the charge of murdering Rigby.

The judge said "nothing" in Adebolajo's evidence "amounts in law to a defence to this count [of murder]".

He said: "I have ruled that nothing said by the first defendant and… his evidence - in short he was a soldier of Allah and was justified in doing what he did – amounts in law to a defence to this count.

"Both defence counsel must and will respect that ruling in their speeches," he added.

Rigby was hacked to death on the street in front of members of the public before armed officers arrived at the scene and shot and arrested two suspects, who were Adebolajo and Adebowale.

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