Married Couple jailed for free speech Lee Rigby videos

14 March 2014 Last updated at 17:22

Lee Rigby murder: Couple jailed for glorification videos

A married couple have been jailed for posting videos on YouTube glorifying Fusilier Lee Rigby’s murder.

Royal Barnes, 23, of Hackney, east London, recorded and uploaded three videos shortly after the murder in Woolwich, south-east London, last May.

In one of the videos, he hailed the murder as a “brilliant day”.

At the Old Bailey, the Muslim couple were both jailed – Barnes for five years and four months, while Rebekah Dawson, 22, was sentenced to 20 months.

‘Offensive in the extreme’

Barnes had already pleaded guilty to three counts of disseminating a terrorist publication and one of inciting murder, while Dawson, who had insisted on wearing a veil in court, had previously admitted disseminating a terrorist publication.

Judge Brian Barker QC told them the videos they made were “offensive in the extreme”.

He said the couple showed “a total and continuing disregard” for how their actions might affect the family of the soldier, the people who witnessed his murder and the British public.

In one of the videos, Barnes laughed as he drove past floral tributes for Fusilier Rigby.

One video, made on the day of the murder, featured graphic images of a man holding a decapitated head.

Another video showed Dawson ranting about how soldiers would be killed in London.

Barnes, who associated with one of Fusilier Rigby’s murderers Michael Adebowale, also posted on Facebook the offer of a reward for avenging the rape of an Iraqi woman.

The post, created on 12 June 2013, stated: “Any1 who kills an invading soldier in Muslim land I will give them a Vauxhall Astra 3door and money (French British American any kaffir soldier take ur pick).”

None of his 500 friends replied to the request.

‘Breathtaking stupidity’
Mitigating for Barnes, Naeem Mian said: “There are no ifs, no buts, no maybes, Mr Barnes makes it absolutely clear that these are idiotic acts borne out of breathtaking stupidity.”

He said his client was vulnerable to coming under bad influences, having been taken into care at the age of eight and prevented from attending his mother’s funeral after she died in custody.

Dawson’s lawyer Susan Meek said her client, who had been studying at university, also came under the influence of others.

Outside court, Mari Reid, of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter Terrorism Division, said the couple had sought to take advantage of Fusilier Rigby’s murder.

“These were not throwaway comments from a thoughtless individual, but the hardened beliefs of an extremist.

“We pride ourselves in Britain on allowing the right to free speech to flourish. But the vile views posted online by Royal Barnes and Rebekah Dawson justified and glorified terrorist attacks, and tried to foster hatred in our communities.”

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Adebowale, 22, were jailed for life last month for murdering Fusilier Rigby.

The Muslim converts ran the soldier down in a car before hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives.

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