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Lee Rigby’s killers to be sentenced after ‘whole-life’ jail terms upheld by leading judges

Sentencing of the murderers of the Middleton soldier had been put on hold pending the judgment

18 Feb 2014

by Simon Coyle

Leading judges have given a crucial ruling backing the use of whole-life sentences today.

A panel of five judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, announced their decision on controversial “life-means-life” orders at the Court of Appeal in London.

Sentencing in a number of high-profile criminal cases had been put on hold – including the terms to be handed down to soldier Lee Rigby’s murderers – pending the judgment.

The government has said that whole-life tariffs are “wholly justified in the most heinous cases”.

The ruling comes seven months after the European Court of Human Rights ruled such terms should be reviewed.

Reacting to today’s ruling Attorney General Dominic Grieve said on Twitter: “I am pleased CoA (Court of Appeal) has confirmed those who commit the most heinous crimes can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives.”

The two men who murdered Middleton Fusilier Lee Rigby are set to be sentenced on Wednesday February 26.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, will learn how long they face behind bars at the Old Bailey.

The pair are due to be sentenced by Mr Justice Sweeney, who said when they were found guilty of the horrific killing that he would wait for a key decision by appeal court judges over whole life tariffs.

Fusilier Rigby, 25, from Langley in Middleton, was run over and then butchered by the pair in front of horrified onlookers in Woolwich, south east London on May 22 last year.