Two men convicted of killing the British soldier Lee Rigby are due to be sentenced and face spending the rest of their lives behind bars with no prospect of release, after judges backed the principle of whole-life sentences for murderers.

We sat in wait and it just so happened that he was the soldier that we spotted first.

Michael Adebolajo

The defendants, Michael Adebelajo and Michael Adebowale, were found guilty on December 19, but their sentencing was delayed until Wednesday because the judge wanted to wait for clarification about Britain's position on life sentences.

The country's Court of Appeal last week said domestic laws on whole-life prison sentences were compatible with European human rights laws, even though the European Union disagrees.

Adebelajo and Adebowale deliberately hit Rigby with a car, stabbed him multiple times and tried to cut his head off in broad daylight on the streets of London last May.

'Fair target'

Jurors on the case watched mobile phone footage of Adebolajo with his hands covered in blood, attributing the attack to "an eye for an eye".

They also saw a video of Adebolajo's police interview, during which he said, "between us we decided that the soldier is the most fair target because he joins the army with kind of the understanding that your life is at risk when you join the army. So we sat in wait and it just so happened that he was the soldier that we spotted first."

Adebolajo was detained by Kenyan police in Mombasa before being deported to the UK in 2010. He was accused of seeking training with the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Source: Agencies