THE Penketh step mum of the fiance of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has spoken out over the heartbreak her family has suffered in the past 10 months.
The whole country was left stunned in May last year after the young Fusilier was hit by a car driven by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale before the pair of religious fanatics hacked him to death in Woolwich, south-east London.
Last week brought a small amount of closure for the family as Adebolajo was sentenced to life in jail and Adebowale faces a minimum 45 years behind bars for the barbaric attack.
Lis West, who is married to the father of Lee’s fiance Aimee West, says the family now have to try and move on.
The 49-year-old, who has been living in Warrington for 20 years, added: “The trial opened wounds again but now we’re trying to move on as best we can and supporting Aimee and her charity.
“The last 10 months have been devastating and it’s something you just can’t comprehend happening to you.
“It didn’t feel real and we kept thinking it must be wrong.
“Lee’s close family have had a lot of support but what happened has had a ripple effect that affects so many and we want to be strong and support Aimee but a lot of people haven’t realised what we have been going through.
“We have been trying to act normally but inside I don’t think it’s something we will ever get over.”
Aimee got engaged to drummer Lee in February last year just before she was deployed to Afghanistan after they met through the Army.
Lis said she first met Lee at her sister’s 50th birthday party and he was a ‘smiling, cheeky chappy’.
The office manager at town centre digital marketing company Latitude added: “Everybody loved him.
“He was such a lovely guy and the life and soul of the party.
“He adored Aimee and he was considerate, thoughtful, kind and would bend over backwards for anybody.
“She was on duty in Afghanistan (the day he died) and knew something was wrong as he wasn’t answering his phone and none of us could get hold of him.
“It’s been particularly upsetting for Aimee as Lee had not changed his next of kin which made it difficult for us getting any information and involvement in Lee’s funeral.”
Aimee has since raised £18,000 in the first week of setting up a fund to thank the charity SSAFA bereaved families support group for their help following her loss.
The 24-year-old will be running the Paris marathon next month, something she had planned to do with Lee, to raise further awareness and help the cause support others.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/Aimee-West1 or leerigbyfund.ssafa.org.uk.