LONDON — Two British Muslim converts were sentenced to decades in prison on Wednesday for hacking a soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street in a gruesome killing that horrified the nation and provoked an anti-Islamic backlash.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, received a whole-life term while Michael Adebowale, 22, was jailed for a minimum of 45 years at the Old Bailey court in London.
They were sentenced in their absence after being dragged down to the cells after brawling with security guards in the dock as the judge opened his sentencing remarks.
Both had been found guilty by a jury last December of murdering off-duty soldier Lee Rigby, a 25-year old Afghan war veteran in Woolwich, south-east London, in May last year.
The murder, which provoked a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain and anti-Islamic street protests, made international headlines as a video of Adebolajo with blood-soaked hands justifying the attack traveled around the world.