An armed police officer thought one of Lee Rigby’s alleged murderers was going to kill her as he ran towards marksmen waving his hands in a chopping motion, a jury has heard.
The officer, identified only as D49, said in a statement that she “instantly” thought she would die when Michael Adebolajo, 28, ran towards the BMW X5 she had driven to Woolwich in the aftermath of the soldier’s death.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC read her account to jurors at the Old Bailey, in which she said: “I saw a black male running at me waving both his hands in the air in a chopping motion. In his right hand I saw what I call a meat cleaver or a machete.
“I instantly thought, ‘he’s going to kill me’. I went to draw my Glock. Due to my position in the car, the internal door has a panel jutting out - I could not immediately draw my Glock out due to this. It was a split second decision to draw my Taser.
“I could still see the look in the suspect’s eyes. They were so wide and I could see the whites of them. He was shouting something.”
She then saw a second suspect, said to be Michael Adebowale, 22, holding a gun.
“I thought, ‘oh my God, he’s going to shoot me’. I feared for my life.”
Adebolajo and Adebowale are accused of murdering Fusilier Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London on May 22, as well as attempting to murder a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer on or before that day.
A second armed officer, identified as E48, was in court to give evidence in person.
He sat behind two large screens in the witness box, passing his warrant card to the judge to confirm his true identity.
Video footage of Adebolajo charging towards the officers and flying into the air as he was shot was played to the court. Adebowale was also seen falling to the ground as he was shot.
D49 kept her gun trained on Adebolajo as he lay on the ground, while E48 was seen rushing back to the police car to get a medical kit. He and another officer then administered first aid to Adebowale.
E48 told the court that the officers had “very little time” to react when Adebolajo ran at them.
“He started to move towards the vehicle which started to raise my perception of the threat,” the officer said. “He almost instantly broke into a sprint and I realised we were being attacked. We had very little time to deal with the threat.”
The officer said that D49, who was driving the car, was left “essentially unable to defend herself”.
He told the court: “She was defenceless. She had a pane of glass to protect herself, it was not ballistic glass.”
The marksman opened fire on Adebolajo as he ran towards the car, telling the jury he was in “the frame of mind” that the suspect posed a threat.
“The second he started sprinting at us still in possession of that knife I made the decision to fire and until he fell away from the vehicle I was still in the frame of mind and I needed to take that decisive action to stop him.”
He then saw Adebowale, who was lying on the ground after being shot, raise his arm in the air, the court heard.
“He raised one of his arms up. I’ve still got a distinct image in my mind of him holding a black revolver in his hand which I clearly saw, which struck me as unusual because he’d just been shot.”
Adebowale was shot again in the thumb, and then given first aid, jurors were told.
E48 said that he and his fellow officers try to save the lives of suspects who have been shot.
“Once the threat is neutralised we have a duty of care to all persons to save life, no matter who they are.”
The court also heard statements from a number of paramedics who described Adebolajo talking about the military after he had been shot.
Paramedic Nicholas Goh described him saying: “I don’t want anyone to die, I just want the soldiers out of my country. Your Government is all wrong. I did it for my God.”
Another paramedic, William Woolston, said in a statement that Adebolajo told him his name was Mujahid Abu Hamza.
The witness said the 28-year-old told him he believed in sharia law, and made repeated statements about British soldiers raping and killing women in Afghanistan.
“He kept repeating these statements over and over in slightly varied forms and didn’t stop talking about this for all of the journey to King’s College Hospital,” the paramedic said.
Mr Woolston’s colleague Stephen Berry said Adebolajo told him that “British soldiers deserved to die” for raping and killing women “in our lands”.
Once Adebolajo was taken to hospital, he remained under police guard.
Police Constable Melita Vejnovic told the court he said to her: “My intention was never to harm any civilians. There were women and children around, my intention was to hurt military only. He (Fusilier Rigby) was in his kit, in his uniform, coming in and out of the barracks.”
Adebolajo refused to sign a note of the statement he had made, but later dictated her a note that said: “The reason that we are fighting is because we believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
“We hope that one day Great Britain will replace those corrupt politicians with men or women who truly care about the security of their citizens by withdrawing from the affairs of Muslims including their lands.”