Michael Adebolajo, one of the men accused of gruesomely hacking to death British Fusilier Lee Rigby in May, said in a police interview that he and co-accused Michael Adebowale didn’t seek out Rigby because of a personal vendetta, but because he was “the soldier that was spotted first.”

He also said the brutal method of execution they chose was based on how “animals” are killed in Islam, according to the BBC.

The 45-minute interview was from June, but was played in court Thursday during the murder trial in which both men have pleaded not guilty.

Woolwich Defendant Michael Adebolajo Says Killing of Lee Rigby Based on How Animals Killed in Islam

Lee Rigby, known as ‘Riggers’ to his friends, was hacked to death in the street in the Woolwich area of London, May 22, 2013. (MOD/AP Photo)

“We sat in wait and it just so happened that he was the soldier that was spotted first,” Adebolajo said. He added that it was “almost as if Allah had chosen” Rigby, according to the U.K. Guardian.

Adebolajo said that after he crashed into Rigby with a car, having seen him walking “so casually” walking across the street, “we did not wish to give him much pain … I could see he was still alive.”

“We exited the vehicle and I am not sure how I struck the first blow. The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular, this is what I believe, this is how we kill our animals in Islam,” he added. “He may be my enemy but he is a man … So I struck at the neck and attempted to remove his head.”

Woolwich Defendant Michael Adebolajo Says Killing of Lee Rigby Based on How Animals Killed in Islam

Image source: ITV

Both men deny the murder charge, but seem open about the fact that they killed Rigby. Detective Con Dhaval Bhatt, one of the police officers who interviewed Adebolajo, said Adebolajo “believed he was a soldier of Islam.”

Adebolajo described his actions as having “set out determined that this way we will obey the command of Allah.”

CNN reported that during the trial, forensic psychiatrist Tim McKinley described the defendant as polite and showing no signs of a mental disorder, remorse or regret. The defendant reportedly assured McKinley that while he still poses a threat to the British military, he is not a threat to civilians, police or medical staff.