Michael Adebolajo, 28, and an unnamed accomplice are believed to have knocked off duty Drummer Lee Rigby down with a Vauxhall Tigra as he walked back to the Woolwich Barracks at 2.20 p.m. yesterday, crushing his body against a road sign.
Government sources confirmed that the names of both suspects were on a list maintained by the security services, but stressed it was unclear what level of surveillance they were under.
The blood-soaked man identified as Michael Adebolajo, who was still holding a number of weapons in his red-stained hands, then ranted on camera in a clear London accent saying: “You people will never be safe” before telling a passer-by they had not fled because they were waiting to “shoot the police”.
Within 20 minutes armed officers arrived and the fundamentalists charged at them wielding firearms, knives and a machete.
Police opened fire, shooting six bullets, leaving one seriously injured. The pair remain under armed guard in two separate London hospitals.
Police today defended their response to the killing after eyewitnesses claimed they took up to 20 minutes to arrive at the scene.
Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, said: “One point I would like to address is around some of the speculation as to how long it took the Met to respond yesterday as this incident started to unfold.
“We first received a 999 call from the public at 2.20 p.m. stating a man was being attacked, further 999 calls stated that the attackers were in possession of a gun. We had officers at the scene within nine minutes of receiving that first 999 call.
“Once that information about a gun or guns being present was known firearms officers were assigned at 2.24 p.m. Firearms officers were there and dealing with the incident 10 minutes after they were assigned, 14 minutes after the first call to the Met.”
Police were today seen outside a detached house in a Lincolnshire village where they raided a home where Michael Adebolajo is listed as having lived in the past.
There was no answer at the address believed to be that of Michael Adebolajo’s father, named by neighbors as Anthony Adebolajo.
Michael Adebolajo was born in Lambeth, south London, in 1985 to a Christian family of Nigerian descent.
At the age of 15 or 16 he started getting involved in Islam and started to speak about Jihadi ideas.
Michael Adebolajo joined several extremist groups – including Al Muhajiroun – that were banned in Britain and in 2003 converted to Islam, calling himself Mujaheed while at Marshalls Park School.
Fearing he had become radicalized, his parents moved him away from Romford to a village in Lincolnshire.
Michael Adebolajo then went to university in Greenwich, living in Eltham while he was a student.
A former friend told the Evening Standard that Michael Adebolajo was a Christian.
The friend said: “He started getting involved with Islam aged about 15 or 16, and that is why his parents moved him away out of the area. It is utterly shocking to see what he has done. It’s unbelievable.”
The security services, including MI5, were aware of him and his accomplice, who has not been named but is believed to be from Harold Hill, close to Romford.