The family of a man suspected of hacking a British soldier to death on a London street condemned the attack as senseless, distancing itself from the murder which has provoked an anti-Muslim backlash.
Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old veteran of the Afghan war, was butchered in broad daylight by two men who said they killed him in the name of Islam. Police shot and wounded the assailants, both Britons of Nigerian descent, at the scene of the crime, which has prompted questions about the security services' ability to prevent attacks of this kind.
In their first public remarks since the murder last Wednesday, relatives of one of the suspects, Michael Adebolajo, a 28-year-old British-born convert from a Christian Nigerian family, said on Tuesday that they felt ashamed and horrified.
"Nothing we say can undo the events of last week," the family said. "However, as a family, we wish to share with others our horror at the senseless killing of Lee Rigby and express our profound shame and distress that this has brought on our family."
London's Metropolitan Police yesterday released a post-mortem examination report which said Rigby died of "multiple incised wounds" after being hit by a car and attacked. A formal hearing into Rigby's death will open at Southwark Coroner's Court in London tomorrow.
Security services have been in the spotlight over what they knew about the men's activities, particularly after it emerged Adebolajo was detained in Kenya in 2010.
Britain's ITV News channel reported that Adebalajo - who went by the nickname Mujahid (warrior) after taking up Islam as a teenager - and his family were approached by security services MI5 and MI6, which tried to recruit him as an informant.