Michael Adebolajo was born to Christian immigrants from Nigeria and then became involved in gang violence as a teenager. An acquittance said,
Adebolajo became involved with a criminal Nigerian gang from outside the school: As he got older he started mixing with other people from outside. We used to go around the house and there used to be 20 black guys and they would walk around the streets … They were stealing people’s phones and that and they had knives.
She said that Adebolajo himself would carry a knife around, not just for protection but as part of his criminal activities. However, she didn’t know if he had ever been arrested. She said that once he started to carry a knife around his parents decided to get the boys out of Romford:
It’s unknown if the Nigerian gang was Muslim or not. The neighbors had bad experiences with the family and Michael appeared to be a thug.
A former neighbour of the Adebolajo family at the home they lived in until around 2004, along the main A12 road in Romford, Essex, said he did not have fond memories of them.
Graham Silverton, 63, who has lived in the street for 25 years and lived two doors down from the family, said he found Michael Adebolajo’s father aggressive and short tempered.
Silverton said the neighbours living between him and the Adebolajos had a particularly bad experience with Michael when he was a teenager. He said one of the neighbours’ children, a teenage girl, had gone to the Adebolajos door to retrieve a ball kicked into their garden and was insulted and punched by Michael. The incident was not reported to police, he recalled.
Adebolajo’s parents divorced and his father left, leading to another broken family, which is a rather typical reality among Third World immigrants.
At some point Adebolajo became involved with Islam and formally converted and took the Mujahid, one who engages in Jihad, in 2003. The security services remained aware of him, but did not act, even as he became involved with Islamist groups.
Witnesses recalled seeing him handing out Islamic literature in Woolwich and acting as a street preacher. No action was taken. Until it was too late.
The police appeared to have detained some more individuals, suggesting that we may be dealing with a larger cell…
Two women, said by neighbours to be sisters, were taken out of the flat in handcuffs this morning, along with a teenage boy, a toddler and a baby. All were taken away by the police.