A convicted triple killer seeking asylum in Britain has been sentenced to life in prison for a minimum of 29 years after murdering an aspiring Royal Marine outside a Subway takeaway shop.
Lawangin Abdulrahimzai was on the run on murder charges in Serbia when he arrived in the UK, but his violent past went undetected and he even managed to convince authorities he was 14 – six years younger than his real age.
According to reports, police were warned seven times that Abdulrahimzai was carrying a knife before stabbing 21-year-old Thomas Roberts in Bournemouth, Dorset, in March last year.
Despite being convicted of killing two people with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in Serbia, the fugitive killer was placed in foster care on his arrival in the UK.
The Home Office said it would investigate “missing red flags” and look at the full circumstances surrounding the case.
The court previously heard that the killer believed he was younger because he was told by an uncle while he was in Afghanistan.
Sentencing Abdulrahimzai, Judge Paul Dugdale told the defendant: “I am passing sentence on the basis that Mr Abdulrahimzai was the aggressor at all times that night and his behavior created the circumstances in which Thomas Roberts died.
“More than that, he was looking for trouble.”
Turning to Abdulrahimzai, the judge continued: “You started the conflict, and you were a threatening aggressor through and through. In seconds you took the life of a perfectly decent man with a bright future who was loved very much by many people. Your momentary act of extreme, senseless violence has caused a family tragedy. They are left with damage that they will feel for the rest of their lives.
During the trial in Salisbury, the defendant, who had an “infatuation with knives”, admitted to stabbing Roberts, who died of his injuries.
The court was told that Roberts was acting as a “peacemaker” in the early hours of 12 March 2022, after his friend James Medway got into an argument with Abdulrahimzai over an e-scooter he had claimed and stuck to a window. Subway Sandwich Shop on Old Christchurch Road.
Roberts slapped Abdulrahimzai in the face in a fight that lasted only 24 seconds.
Abdulrahimzai then revealed a knife hidden between two pairs of trousers he was wearing and stabbed Roberts twice before fleeing.
He had previously been seen carrying a knife by his foster parents, who had warned him not to, and police and social workers had also warned him of the dangers of carrying a knife.
Abdulrahimzai also shared pictures of himself posing with a knife about 10 inches long on TikTok in the months leading up to the incident.
He was refused asylum in Norway in December 2019 but eventually arrived in Poole, Dorset, in the same month.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, victim impact statements from Roberts’ mother, father, stepfather and partner were read to the court.
His father, Philip Roberts, was the only one of the four to read his statement in court, saying: “Tommy was my only son, I always wanted a son to carry on the family line but now he’s been taken out. Me, leaving a terrible void.”
Roberts’ mother, Dolores Wallace, said she was “the proudest mother in the world”.
A statement read out to the court on his behalf said:
“My heart bleeds, a broken heart, knowing you’re no longer here.”
His partner, Gemma Walker, told the court she had been in an “endless cycle of infidelity” since the aspiring Royal Marine was killed.
Her victim impact statement said: “Now there is nothing but complete and utter grief with no reason to carry on. The chance to have a child with the man I love has been lost. My world, my life and my hopes have been torn apart.”