Couple jailed for glorifying Lee Rigby murder

Royal Barnes and his wife Rebekah Dawson uploaded the videos on YouTube

A British Muslim couple were jailed for glorifying the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in videos posted on YouTube that were described as “offensive in the extreme”.

Royal Barnes, 23, and his wife Rebekah Dawson, 22, recorded and uploaded three videos shortly after the murder in Woolwich, southeast London, last May.

Barnes was jailed for five years and four months at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty last month to three counts of disseminating a terrorist publication and one of inciting murder.

His wife, who insisted on wearing her veil in court, admitted charges of disseminating a terrorist publication and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

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 Lee Rigby, those people who witnessed the murder and the British public.

Barnes and Dawson of Hackney, northeast London, embraced in the dock and insisted they would not be separated by a security guard at the start of the hearing.

The court heard the first of the three videos was made on the day Fusilier Rigby was murdered, with Barnes hailing it as a “brilliant” day.

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Royal Barnes laughs as he passes hundreds of flower tributes left for Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich in one of the three videos the man posted shortly after the soldier’s death

It was edited with images of a man holding a decapitated head, a scene of the Woolwich murder and the Twin Towers, and posted on YouTube the following day.

The second video contained the same edited images and showed Dawson ranting about how British troops would be killed on the streets of London.

Barnes later mocked the outpouring of public grief, laughing uncontrollably as he drove past floral tributes with Dawson.

Kate Wilkinson, for the prosecution, said Dawson sent links of the videos to contacts and friends and received some negative comments back. One friend said to her: “Can you please stop sending me these links? I’m not interested in it.”

Another told Dawson: “Be careful with the YouTube stuff.”

Dawson replied: “My husband took this one down. If they got that they would have arrested. Have you watched it — it was really inciting and almost glorifying. LOL.”

Dawson called her husband “Babes” in messages between them discussing the videos. In one, she told Barnes: “Babes, someone has reported the laughing video. It has been removed.”

Barnes, who knew one of the murderers, Michael Adebowale, also posted the offer of a reward on Facebook for anyone who would avenge the rape of an Iraqi woman. None of his 500 friends replied.

The post on June 12 last year 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).”

Michael Adebolajo, 29, was given a whole-life term and Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 45 years at a hearing last month after being found guilty of Fusilier Rigby’s murder.

The British Muslim converts ran the soldier down in a car before hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in a frenzied attack. They dumped his body in the middle of the road near Woolwich Barracks.

See also coverage in The Daily Mail, who say of the wife, “Dawson, pictured without her veil as a teenager. The Muslim convert hails from a devoutly Christian family”