In a brief interview Friday, the wife of the British soldier who was killed Wednesday in a brutal attack in London's Woolwich neighborhood said she had thought that once her husband returned from Afghanistan, he would be safe.
Flanked by other family members, Rebecca Rigby clearly struggled to speak to reporters during the short press conference at the regimental headquarters of her husband's unit, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bury in Greater Manchester, according to the Telegraph.
"I just want to say that I love Lee. I always will and I’m proud to be his wife," she said. "He was a devoted father to our son Jack and we'll both miss him terribly."
Drummer Lee Rigby was killed Wednesday by two men who attacked him on the street in broad daylight and hacked at his body with knives. According to the BBC, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been arrested for carrying out the attack.
Rigby, 25, had joined the military in 2006 and served in Cyprus, Germany and Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the British Ministry of Defense.
At the press conference, Rebecca Rigby said she had never expected her husband to face danger on a London street.
"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 [Afghanistan]. ... He's walked up and down that road so many times before."
The slain soldier's stepfather, Ian Rigby, also spoke during the interview.
"Lee was a man who loved people," he said, according to the Telegraph. "He had many friends growing up in Middleton and on army duties all over the world."
Reading from a statement, Ian praised his son as "dedicated" to the army and a loving, loyal "family man."
He also read a goodbye letter written by Lee's younger sisters, Courtney and Amy:
Rest in Peace Lee we loved you so much, you didn't deserve this, you fought for your country and did it well. You will always be our hero we are just upset you left us so early. Love you Lee, goodnight.