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U.K. Soldier’s Killers Asked People to Watch, Inquest Told

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May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Two suspects who attacked British soldier Lee Rigby with a knife and meat cleaver on a busy London street encouraged bystanders to watch, a detective said.

A car swerved off the road to hit Rigby, counterterrorism detective Grant Mallon said today at a coroner’s inquest into Rigby’s death. After stabbing him, the suspects moved his body into the middle of the road and asked people to look, he said.

Deputy Coroner Lorna Tagliavini adjourned the hearing in London to give police more time to conclude their investigation. Police are treating the murder of Rigby in Woolwich on May 22 as an act of terrorism.

The 25-year-old was returning to his barracks from work at the Tower of London the day he was killed, Mallon said. The two suspects ran at a police car after the attack and were incapacitated, he told the coroner.

Rigby, father of a 2-year-old son, was a drummer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. A fan of the Manchester United soccer team, he served as a machine gunner in Cyprus and then in 2009 as a member of a fire support group in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Rigby’s family said they are grateful for the support they’ve received in the wake of his murder, in a statement released today by the Ministry of Defence.

“We would like to emphasize that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others,” the family said. “We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience.”

Another Suspect

A 22-year-old man, Michael Adebowale, has been charged with murder and possession of a handgun. Another suspect, identified by U.K. media as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, is in the hospital.

London police have arrested another eight people in the probe into Rigby’s death. They have all been released, six on bail pending further inquiries and two were let go without charges.

About 500 police officers and other investigators, including members of counterterrorism units from forces around the country, are working on the case, U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London at cchellel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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