The life of crime of an Afghan asylum seeker living in Britain was made public on Monday following his conviction for the murder of an aspiring Royal Marine who was stabbed to death after an altercation in the English town of Bournemouth last year.
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, 21, was found guilty of murder at Salisbury Crown Court on Monday, after plunging a 10 cm knife into the chest of 21-year-old Thomas Roberts during a row over an e-scooter in the early hours of March 12 last year. His victim is understood to have been attempting to keep the peace between his friend and Abdulrahimzai.
Following the verdict, Abdulrahimzai’s violent past came to light, as it was revealed the Afghan asylum seeker had already been convicted in absentia by a Serbian court for a double murder and was found guilty of dealing drugs in Italy as he traveled freely across Europe.
Abdulrahimzai’s uncle reportedly helped him be smuggled out of Afghanistan into Pakistan in 2015 over concern for his safety. He claimed the Taliban had killed his parents after suspecting them of working with NATO and told the court he had been tortured by the militants, including an incident in which he said he was stabbed 28 times.
Abdulrahimzai subsequently made his way through Iran and along the Western Balkan migratory route, through Turkey and Bulgaria, into Serbia.
Prosecutor Ellie Fargin told the court that Abdulrahimzai had received a 20-year prison sentence in Serbia for shooting two migrants dead outside a refugee center.
Aspiring Royal Marine stabbed to death by Afghan asylum seeker while acting as peacemaker in row over e-scooter, court told
Reporting on the incident last March was originally restricted, as the defendant had lied about being a minor
Abdulrahimzai fled the country and spent time in Norway and Italy. He had an asylum request rejected by the former in 2019 and was convicted of dealing drugs in the latter, for which he received a non-custodial sentence after pleading guilty.
He subsequently traveled to France where he took the ferry to England. He told border officials he was a 14-year-old schoolboy and was placed into foster care.
He was under the guardianship of Nicola Marchant-Jones in early 2020, who recounted to the court how Abdulrahimzai frequently suffered from night terrors, regularly carried a knife, and said the killer had a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
“He would go from zero to 100 almost instantly,” a statement by Ms. Marchant-Jones read.
“I was always worried he would do something with a knife, particularly when reporting he was missing to police,” it added.
Numerous troubling incidents during his time in the U.K. were recounted by Ms. Marchant-Jones before the attack that killed Mr. Roberts in March last year.
She told the court how Abdulrahimzai had been involved in street fights for money, had engaged in altercations with people at the Alton Towers theme park during a visit, and had posted footage on social media of himself beating up an older man with the caption, “We are Afghan, we keep it real.”
Following an altercation in 2021, where Ms. Marchant-Jones was nearly headbutted by the killer during an argument, he was removed from her care.
After his arrest on suspicion of murder in March last year, Abdulrahimzai attempted to con U.K. police by telling them he was 16 years old in order to be treated as a minor.
Following age verification checks by U.K. authorities, he was determined to be an adult born in October 2001 and was thus 20 at the time of the attack.