An Afghan national who posed as a child refugee to enter the UK has been convicted of the murder of a British man, years after convictions in Italy and Serbia for drug dealing and murder.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai stabbed Thomas Roberts, an aspiring Royal Marine, to death in March of last year, after getting into an argument over an e-scooter in Bournemouth, England. Abdulrahimzai confronted Roberts and his friend James Medway, killing Roberts shortly after a brief confrontation.
Abdulrahimzai, who allegedly fled Afghanistan in October 2015, claimed that he was under the impression that Roberts was working for the Taliban, and trying to kill him. The jury at Salisbury Crown Court flatly rejected his excuse, convicting the supposed Afghan refugee of murder.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai cut down two men with a Kalashnikov in Serbia. He was denied asylum in Norway, arrived here, claimed he was just 14 and placed in a foster home. Despite being an adult. Then, whilst here, he plunged a knife into the heart of a popular DJ. #SoftTouchBritain pic.twitter.com/ROXw8arJLB
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) January 24, 2023
The Afghan national had travelled around Europe, including Norway, Italy and Serbia for years, before entering the UK in December 2019. In Serbia, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years, after killing two other Afghan men with a Kalashnikov rifle, and was also convicted of drug dealing in Italy.
Despite the previous convictions, and a rejected asylum claim from Norway just a few weeks previously, he was able to enter the UK and granted permission to stay. Abdulrahimzai claimed that he was only 14, even though he was at least 18. Due to Home Office guidance at the time, authorities were forced to give him the benefit of the doubt until a more thorough age test could be done.
Since he “messed around” immigration officials by refusing to attend interviews, a proper age test was only conducted in February of last year, only one month before the murder in Bournemouth.
Afghan migrant Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai has been found guilty of murdering 21-year-old Thomas Roberts outside a takeaway in Bournemouth.
After the trial, the jury heard he had previously been convicted of murder in Serbia and sentenced to 20 years in prison in his absence. pic.twitter.com/BKZGnkOEqc
— TalkTV (@TalkTV) January 24, 2023
Before the age test could be completed, the drug dealer and murdered was placed at a school with young teenagers, and given a foster carer, who was so scared of him that she had to lock away all of the knives in her house.
Nicola Marchant-Jones, his carer, said his mood could swing from “zero to 100 almost instantly,” and reported that he had been conducting street fights for money. One video posted to Snapchat showed Abdulrahimzai beating up an older man.
“Foreign national offenders who exploit our system and commit crimes here in the UK will face the full force of the law, including deportation at the earliest opportunity for those eligible,” said a Home Office spokesman. “The Government is committed to stopping abuse of the immigration system, taking decisive action against those who try to play the system.”
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth, called for an investigation into all the “red flags” that were missed in Abdulrahimzai’s case, saying that there were “lessons to be learnt” from the government.
The neoconservative MP suggested that because asylum seekers like Abdulrahimzai can witness “horrors of war… they can become desensitized to the difference between right and wrong.”
Today I asked for a full investigation as to why so many red flags were missed that led to the tragic death of Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last year.
The Minister agreed – so many lessons to be learnt. pic.twitter.com/lHVAHJMjtM
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) January 24, 2023