Afghan asylum seeker jailed for life for murder in UK

LONDON: A 21-year old Afghan man previously convicted of killing two people in Serbia has been sentenced to life in prison in the UK for a separate murder.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, who arrived in Britain seeking asylum in 2019, will serve a minimum of 29 years behind bars for killing Thomas Roberts, 21, outside a Subway takeaway in Bournemouth, Dorset, in March last year, Sky News reported.

Roberts was attempting to act as a “peacemaker” after his friend got into an argument with Abdulrahimzai over an e-scooter outside the sandwich shop. After Roberts slapped him in the face during a 24-second confrontation, Abdulrahimzai pulled out a knife concealed between two pairs of trousers he was wearing and stabbed Roberts twice.

He fled into nearby woods, buried the knife and burned his trousers, jacket and an Afghan flag he was wearing as a scarf, Salisbury Crown Court heard.

“In seconds, you took the life of a thoroughly decent man with a bright future who was loved greatly by so many people,” Judge Paul Dugdale told Abdulrahimzai as he handed down the life sentence on Wednesday.

“Your momentary act of extreme, senseless violence has left a family with a tragic loss that they will feel for the rest of their lives.”

Abdulrahimzai said that he fled Afghanistan after he was tortured by the Taliban and his parents were killed. Before coming to the UK he lived in Serbia for a time, where he shot dead two people in 2018. He was convicted of the double murder in his absence and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

British authorities were unaware of this violent history and Abdulrahimzai fooled officials into believing he was only 14 years old, about six years younger than he really was. He was placed in foster care, where one of his guardians noticed he was carrying a knife.

The Home Office said it will investigate the case and the “red flags” that were missed.

“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,” a spokesman said.

“The government is committed to stopping abuse of the immigration system, taking decisive action against those who try to play the system.”