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Wife of slain British soldier says she thought he was 'safe' back in UK

Rebecca Rigby, the widow of the British soldier who was murdered in London, fights back tears to talk about the "devoted father" she never expected to die while on UK soil. "You think they're safe," she says alongside their family spokesman.

LONDON -- The wife of a British soldier brutally murdered in broad daylight in London said on Friday that she thought he was safe in England after returning from active duty in Afghanistan.

The family of the British soldier brutally killed by two attackers in Woolwich on Wednesday spoke to the media today. The last text he sent to his mam read "Goodnight mam, I hope you had a fantastic day today, because you are the most fantastic, one in a million mum that anyone could ever wish for." ITN's Juliet Bremner has the latest.

Several of Drummer Lee Rigby’s relatives made an emotional, tear-strewn appearance at a news conference Friday, as dramatic video footage emerged showing the moments that police shot two men later arrested over the killing.

Rigby, 25, known as “Riggers” to his friends, was walking near an army barracks in Woolwich, South London, when he was killed on Wednesday.

At the news conference Friday, his father Ian, who did most of the talking as the others mostly appeared too upset to speak, said his son was a “hero” and “didn’t deserve this.”

Rigby’s wife, Rebecca, 30, spoke briefly and was clearly struggling to do so.

“I just want to say that I love Lee. I always will and I’m proud to be his wife,” she said.

“He was due to come up this weekend, so we could continue our future together as a family. He was a devoted father to our son Jack and we’ll both miss him terribly,” she added.

Later, she spoke of her shock at his death in England.

“You don’t expect it to happen when he’s in the U.K. You think they’re safe,” she said. “You know it’s dangerous when they go somewhere like that [Afghanistan] … he’s walked up and down that road so many times before.”

The new video footage was published by the Mirror newspaper, which it said showed the moments when police officers shot the two alleged attackers. It contains scenes that people may find disturbing.

In the video, shot from high above the scene, a man is seen running toward a police car, dropping something that looks like a knife. Two shots are heard and he falls to the ground.

Another man, not clearly visible beneath the trees, appears to hold out his arm toward the officers with something in his hand. A burst of three shots and then another are heard and he also falls to the ground. There are then two further shots.

A mother who confronted a man suspected of killing a British soldier yesterday says she did so in an "act of instinct."

Separate video footage taken before the police arrived showed a passerby talking to one of the men, who was carrying a large knife and whose hands were covered in blood. The passerby, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, said she also saw a gun.

The two men were taken to hospitals in London for treatment and were later arrested.

At the family news conference, Ian Rigby said that when his son was born, he was “a precious gift” to the family.

“What can we say about Lee, our hero, we’re so proud of Lee,” his father said, struggling to compose himself.

He said Lee had a “fiery temper” when he was younger and he used to sit on his son while trying to calm him down, but when he got too big at about 15 “he used to sit on me.”

Ian Rigby said it had been his son’s dream when he was growing up to join the army.

“He was dedicated and loved his job. Lee adored and cared a lot for all his family and he was very much a family man, looking out for his wife, his young son Jack and his younger sisters, who in turn looked up to him,” he said. “He always had a banter [teasing and joking] with them, but would never ever let any harm come to them.”

The slain soldier had been “over the moon” at becoming a father and an uncle, his father said.

“Lee was a man who loved people. He had many friends growing up in Middleton [Greater Manchester] and on army duties all over the world, where he’d been sent,” he added. “He believed life was for living and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

A statement by his sisters – read by Ian Rigby – said “rest in peace Lee, we loved you so much and you didn’t deserve this.”

“You fought for your country and did it well. You will always be our hero. We’re just upset you left us so early,” the statement added.

Ian Rigby read the last text that Lee Rigby had sent to his mother.

“Good night mam [mother], I hope you had a fantastic day today because you are the most fantastic, one-in-a-million mum that anyone could ever have wished for. Thank you for supporting me all these years. You’re not just my mum, you’re my best friend.”

He also read a poem for his son, that included the lines:

“Our family chain is broken,

And nothing is the same,

But as God takes us one by one,

Our chain will link again.”

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