A Hackney couple has been sentenced to jail for glorifying the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in videos posted online that were “offensive in the extreme”.
Royal Barnes, 23, and his wife Rebekah Dawson, 22, recorded and uploaded three videos on the site shortly after the soldier’s murder in Woolwich last May.
At the Old Bailey on Friday, Barnes pleaded guilty to three counts of disseminating a terrorist publication and one of inciting murder and was sentenced for five years and four months. His wife was sentenced to 20 months in prison after admitting charges of disseminating a terrorist publication.
Judge Brian Barker QC told the court that the couple showed a “total and continuing disregard” for how the images might affect the family of trooper Rigby, the witnesses and the British public.
In a seven-minute video posted on the day after Lee Rigby’s murder, Barnes hailed the killing as a “brilliant” day. The clip was also edited with graphic images of a man holding a decapitated head, a scene of the Woolwich murder and a picture of the World Trade Center in New York.
The second video contained the same edited images and featured Dawson in a face veil behind a title: “British troops kill Muslims so they will die on London streets”.
A third video posted under Barnes’ account Musa Real Talks showed him laughing uncontrollably as he drove past floral tributes in Woolwich, mocking the outpouring of public grief.
Barnes, who knew one of the murderers, Michael Adebowale, also posted on Facebook the offer of a reward for avenging the rape of an Iraqi woman.
The post on June 12 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).”
Naeem Mian, mitigating for Barnes, said that the defendant came from a deeply dysfunctional background as he was “preyed upon” by Muslim extremists. Mian told the court: “There are no ifs, no buts, no maybes. Mr Barnes makes it absolutely clear that these are idiotic acts borne out of breathtaking stupidity.”
Dawson’s lawyer Susan Meek said her client, who had been studying at university, also came under the influence of others and her dreams of becoming a teacher were now in tatters.