Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, 21, has been found guilty of the murder of Thomas Roberts
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, 21, was jailed for 20 years in his absence for gunning down two victims in Serbia with an assault rifle in a row over trafficking.
The refugee committed his double murder just months before arriving in Britain and telling Border Force officers he was 14 – when he was actually 18.
Abdulrahimzai has also been convicted of drug dealing in Italy.
The case has prompted demands for the asylum system to be hugely toughened up to prevent violent criminals reaching the UK.
Former Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Daily Express it highlights why age verification of illegal migrants is vital. She said: “This is a deeply, deeply harrowing case.
“Everyone’s thoughts are with the family whose lives have been scarred by the heinous crimes of this individual who came to the country through illegal means. It makes the case for the changes to the law that were being brought in by the Nationality and Borders Act to introduce age verification.
“It also shows the importance of sharing information and data between law enforcement to make sure that people are not just checked over but they face the full force of the law.”
Abdulrahimzai’s criminal past was revealed as he was convicted of murdering DJ Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last March.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai had previously killed two people in Serbia.
Tom, 21, who dreamed of joining the Marines, was acting as a peacemaker after Abdulrahimzai clashed with James Medway. The pals were having a “chilled” night out when James saw an apparently unattended rental e-scooter and suggested that they ride home.
Abdulrahimzai, with an Afghan flag around his neck and balaclava on his face, claimed the e-scooter was his – and became aggressive.
Tom stepped in to stop the row but knife-obsessed Abdulrahimzai stabbed him twice, Salisbury Crown Court was told. He stayed on his feet briefly but then collapsed, “bleeding profusely”.
Passers-by tried to help but he died later as surgeons operated on wounds to his chest and abdomen. James chased Abdulrahimzai but lost him in the woodland. The killer dropped a phone and it was traced to his home in nearby Poole.
Tom’s family wept as his attacker was found guilty of murder today, after admitting manslaughter. He will be jailed for life on Wednesday.
CCTV footage captured Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai on the e-scooter
Ex-Border Force director general Tony Smith said the tragedy “demonstrates the need to ensure that all asylum seekers arriving at the UK border without any identity and travel documents are thoroughly screened before they are granted temporary release.
“It is therefore vital that UK enforcement agencies continue to accelerate efforts to work with source and transit countries on data-sharing agreements.”
Senior Tory MP Sir John Hayes said: “This man terrorised rather than being fearful of terror, persecuted rather than fleeing persecution and he has taken lives. This man is clearly not the type of man we want here. He should be locked up in perpetuity.”
The Daily Express understands tougher legislation will be introduced “within weeks”. A Home Office source said: “It’s this Government’s aim to bring in laws so that we can swiftly remove those who come to this country illegally.”
The arrest of Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai
It can now be revealed Abdulrahimzai was convicted of drug crimes in Italy in 2017 before he killed two people in Serbia in 2018. Nic Lobbenberg, KC, prosecuting, had told an earlier hearing: “In Dobrinci…near the motorway, he murdered two people also from Afghanistan. The name he was using was Huan Yasin.”
They were in a shed when a row broke out over trafficking plans. Mr Lobbenberg said Abdulrahimzai “was armed with an automatic assault rifle, two others had pistols.
“He shot 18 rounds of a 7.62 caliber Kalashnikov. An enormous number found their target. Abdulrahimzai fled Serbia but he was identified by a taxi driver who had driven him from the scene.
Dorset Police, which investigated Tom’s stabbing, had no idea of Abdulrahimzai’s murderous past. A spokesman said that he was not marked on UK intelligence systems as having convictions.
Abdulrahimzai came to the UK in 2019 as an asylum seeker, claiming he was 14 at that time. He said he was 16 when Tom was killed.
But an age determination hearing used an examination of his teeth and a judge ruled he was 21.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai in a store in Bournemouth
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said staff had no choice but to treat Abdulrahimzai as a child when he arrived. He was placed with a foster family – but carer Nicola Marchant-Jones said she “had to accept he was 14” and had no way to check otherwise.
She added: “He was quite a shy, gentle boy but then all of a sudden he changed. He was spoken to by the police about carrying knives and he seemed to think he had the right to carry a knife.”
The council said it was working with government officials to identify improvements “to the national process of assessing and placing asylum seekers”.
After arriving from France, Abdulrahimzai posed with a knife online, was seen assaulting a man in the street and got into fights. He said he had seen his parents’ bodies as they were killed by the Taliban.
Tom’s relatives said in a statement: “He was a bright young man with a sense of humor. Active sportsman and loved his DJing. He had a potentially fulfilling future…in his profession of precision engineer or his potential in the military.
“Thomas was a normal kind person, who had enjoyed life. The family would like this to be a warning to everyone not to carry knives so other families do not suffer.”
The family of Thomas Roberts warned people not to carry knives
This case demonstrates the need to ensure that all asylum seekers arriving at the UK border without any identity and travel documents are thoroughly screened before they are granted temporary release into the community, regardless of the merits of their asylum claim.
All asylum seekers aged five and above should be routinely fingerprinted and photographed upon first encounter, and checked against biometric and biographical records for any adverse history.
Where doubts exist, applicants should be detained pending further investigation.
That said, it does not follow that those committing crimes outside the UK (in particular outside the EU) will feature on such databases.
That depends to a great extent upon the authorities in the country where the crime was perpetrated sharing that information internationally, usually via Interpol notices.
Equally, as the UK is no longer party to the Dublin Regulation (which identifies the EU Member State responsible for determining an asylum application) and the Eurodac system (the EU’s asylum fingerprint database), asylum claims previously lodged in other EU countries would not feature. either.
So it is vital that UK enforcement agencies continue to accelerate efforts to work with source and transit countries on data sharing agreements, in order to minimize the risk of repetition of tragic events such as this.
- Tony Smith is a Former Border Force Chief