Lee Rigby
Lee Rigby

As his attackers are found guilty of fusilier Lee Rigby's murder, his heartbroken family have spoken of the moment they heard of his death and how they have since struggled to put their lives back together.

Rigby was run over and savagely attacked in broad daylight outside the Woolwich Barracks in May.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were today convicted of the 25-year-old's brutal murder.

Speaking to ITV's Mary Nightingale, Lee's Mother Lyn described the moment she first heard the news that a soldier had been killed at Woolwich Barracks and when she was met with the realisation that it was her own son.

"I was on my way to work because I do an evening shift cleaning and Ian was just dropping me off outside work and I received a phone call from Sara, my daughter, saying have I heard the news, seen the news about a soldier murdered in Woolwich.

"I think I clicked then that it could possibly be Lee. Lee always phoned me if anything had happened to a soldier... to put my mind at rest. But I hadn't received a phone call.

"I went into work and we have TVs in work. I actually stood there and watched the whole thing. I tried to phone Lee, couldn't get hold of Lee, we tried his barracks. His phone would ring and it would ring."

"I was just going up to bed, I put the bedroom light on and the door went. I knew straight away. I went to the window and there were four gentlemen in black suits and then I started crying, as I knew it was Lee."

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty of the muder of fusilier Lee Rigby in WoolwichReuters

In the savage attack Michael Adebolajo attempted to behead Rigby using a meat cleaver. Having mercilessly butchered the British soldier, his hands soaked in Lee's blood, Adebolajo was recorded on video by an eyewitness, claiming it was a revenge attack for atrocities committed against Muslims, with the chilling words "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale hailed themselves as "soldiers of Allah" and described the killing as "an act of war."

Following the distressing trial, Lee's step father Ian said that religion was "just an excuse" for Adebolajo and Adebowale's heinous actions.

"It was two individuals; it wasn't anything to do with religion," said Ian. "Their views are not the Islam views. It's just their private views. You can't hold religion responsible for their views. They're using religion as an excuse for whatever they've been brainwashed with."

"You'd want to know what could possibly be in their brains that could make them do something like this," he said. "Maybe it would make me understand a little bit."

In the emotional interview his tearful mother said: " I wouldn't wish anybody to go through the same pain that they put Lee through and put our family through. To have to sit and watched what they did to Lee."

With their son's murderers being given the guilty verdict, the Rigby family is left to come to terms with their devastating loss and rebuild their lives.

A young soldier who served in Afghanistan with distinction it was Lee's dream to serve in the army. "Always the army was number one and he followed his dream and obviously I supported Lee's decision as that's what he wanted to do. And we backed him all the way to get him into the army," said his step father.

His parent's spoke with pride of their son's final act of bravery as his tragic death united a divided nation.

Rebecca Rigby (C), the wife of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and son Jack, arrive for a vigil at the Parish Church in Bury (Reuters)
Rebecca Rigby (C), the wife of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and son Jack, arrive for a vigil at the Parish Church in Bury (Reuters)

"Lee's death has united the country...People wanted to meet us and show their support. He's become a figurehead to unite the country and bring people back together.

"He died serving his country. To preserve our way of life, our freedom of speech and the opportunity to be able to walk in peace on our streets.

"It shocked the nation and it made Lee part of everybody's life, not just ours. I mean Lee was taken to everybody's hearts like a son. He became part of everybody's families, everybody felt what we were feeling. And still are."

The Rigby family are looking to the future, finding comfort in Lee's young son Jack. Lyn said: "Jack's all we have left now of Lee. He's going to be one spoiled little boy."

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale will be sentenced in the New Year.