One of the men accused of killing Lee Rigby said today: ‘I’m a man, I’m a soldier, I’m a British citizen.’
Michael Adebolajo, 28, of Romford, Essex, interrupted proceedings at the Old Bailey on several occasions during a bail hearing, telling judge Mr Justice Sweeney via videolink: ‘It’s not about you.’
Adebolajo, whose left arm was in a plaster cast after allegedly murdering the soldier in Woolwich, south-east London, on May 22, added: ‘This whole trial is about more than that. It’s not about me.’
Adebolajo added: ‘It’s possible throughout life that people may sometimes smother you and say things about you that are false. But as a regular citizen and human being, we have to get over it.
‘I believe that the British people are decent. From my experience growing up in my country, only a fraction will wish to slander and lie against me. But the rest would prefer to know the truth.’
Adebolajo is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm – a 9.4mm KNIL model 91 revolver – with intent to cause others to believe violence would be used.
He was reprimanded by the judge for interrupting several times and eventually the videolink was switched off. The defendant was listed as Mujaahid Abu Hamza AKA Adebolajo by the court.
Adebolajo had asked to be referred to by the name when he appeared before magistrates on Monday, and was addressed as Mr Hamza today.
He was charged with the four counts on Saturday, after being discharged from hospital on Friday having spent just over a week there being treated for his injuries after being shot by police.
The court heard Adebolajo had been seen by psychiatrists three times while in hospital and at least twice since he had been discharged and in custody, and had been declared fit for interview in all.
While this was discussed the defendant interjected with: ‘I’m not familiar with this legal jargon. I’m a soldier, not a lawyer.’
The start of the hearing had been delayed after Adebolajo complained about having to be handcuffed in the video-link room at Belmarsh Prison.
He was eventually allowed to have them removed on the understanding that two prison officers sat beside him during the hearing.
Wearing a burgundy top with a pink jumper that was only over one arm due to his cast, Adebolajo also complained that his privacy had been violated.
He claimed he had been made to have his genitals examined twice ahead of his appearance on Wednesday. ‘I’m a man, I’m a soldier, I’m a British citizen,’ he said. ‘And you can’t see my privates.’
Describing the prison officer who had asked to examine him as a ‘jobsworth’, he added that after the experience: ‘I cried like a baby, you know, into my sleeve.’
He said he had let him look at him as he had said ‘please’ when he asked, adding that he appreciated his politeness.
The packed courtroom listened as he likened the situation to when someone says ‘please’ when they ask to get past him when shopping for margarine in a supermarket.
‘It could be Flora or Utterly Butterly, you find it hard not to move,’ he said.
When reprimanded by the judge for interrupting, the defendant said: ‘Stop trying to stifle the truth. Wouldn’t want the truth to get out, would we? Wouldn’t want that.’
But he later praised Mr Justice Sweeney after he let him have his handcuffs removed, saying ‘May Allah bless you’ three times.
‘That man who is wearing the white wig and the red robe. May Allah bless that man because he has had the courage to do something that many wouldn’t have had the courage to do so.’
Adebolajo will appear at the court alongside co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London, for a preliminary hearing on June 28.