Who is Michael Adebolajo? - the British-Nigerian Woolwich terror suspect

Michael Olumide Adebolajo, was born in Lambeth in December 1984 to a Christian family, grew up in Romford, travelled to school on the bus, played football and had lots of friends.

His friends from Marshalls Park School where he attended are finding it difficult to believe the ordinary British schoolboy they once knew is the same man seen carrying bloodied knives and justifying hacking a soldier to death in broad daylight on Wednesday.

“We left year 2001,” one said. “And he was always a good guy at school, do anything for anyone.”

Former neighbours of the family remembered the Adebolajos as friendly. One unidentified neighbour in particular remembered them as “very pleasant, a very ordinary normal family”.

They were churchgoers and attended services at the local church in Romford, Essex.

Not every neighbour had fond memories of the family. Graham Silverton, 63, who lived two doors down from the Adebolajo family, described the experience as unpleasant.

He described Michael Adebolajo’s father as being “aggressive and short tempered”.

Silverton also recalled the neighbours living between him and the Adebolajos had a terrible experience with Michael. He said once the neighbour’s teenage daughter had gone to the Adebolajos to retrieve a ball she kicked into their garden, but was insulted and punched by Michael. The incident was never reported to police.

Silverton says he was “very pleased” when the Adebolajos moved out of the neighbourhood in 2004.

Police on Thursday are reportedly investigating the family home in Saxilby and Adebolajo’s sister’s home in Romford.

Friends at his school did not know of his conversion to Islam in 2003 or what triggered the radical switch in religious beliefs.

Michael changed his name to Mujahid, which means “one who engages in jihad”, and started attending meetings of Al Muhajiroun, an Islamist group that was banned after the 7/7 attacks in London.

But former leader of the group, Anjem Choudary, who confirmed knowing the suspect, denied that he was radicalised by the group. He said Michael stopped attending meetings two years ago and cannot account for what kind of teachings he was exposed to, but he adds that he would neither “condemn nor condone” the action of the 28-year-old.

Guardian UK reports that both Adebolajo and his accomplice, a Nigerian who naturalised in Britain, have featured in counter-terrorism investigations over the past eight years.

It is not clear how both men met. Adebolajo was reportedly seen in Woolwich handing out Islamist literature in High Street, the report said.

Neighbours at his family home in Romford said they believed the family 'moved to get away from whatever trouble Michael was in.'

Neighbour Kemi Ibrahim, 45, described him as a regular teenage boy and that he had been round her house a number of times.

But she explained how she was often getting into rows with his parents, whoch could have been over his coversion to Islam,

'The parents were trying to keep him on the straight and narrow. They thought he was busy with these guys leading him a stray,' she said.

The last memory I can say was when he had a go with his parents and took a brick and just smashed it on the windscreen of their car. He just took the brick and smashed it on the car. I think he was about 17.'

She described the family as Christians and said: 'I am in complete shock.'

Today Police started raiding addresses all over the country that may have had a link to Adebolajo or the attack.

Michael's sister was said to have been led away from an address in Romford this morning.

Detectives and forensic officers were examining the top floor flat believed to belong to Blessing Daniels. They were seen taking plastic boxes into the block. Other officers sat in a white Transit van outside the estate.

Terror police also searched a Lincolnshire property, believed to belong to his father, nurse Anthony Adebolajo, 56

At 5.30am there was also a raid on a property in Greenwich, where witnesses said four people - two sisters in their 30s, an older woman and a teenage boy - were all taken away in a Scotland Yard van.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and his unnamed accomplice are believed to have run down the off-duty British soldier with a Vauxhall Tigra as he walked back to the Woolwich Barracks at 2.20pm yesterday, crushing his body against a road sign.

Witnesses said the terror suspects then 'hacked and chopped' at his body like 'crazed animals', before dragging his corpse into the middle of the road leaving a trail of blood.

As they apparently tried to decapitate him they were chanting 'Allah Akbar!’ – an Islamic phrase meaning ‘God is great’ - and yelling 'this is what God would have wanted'.