Murder-accused shared pictures of himself with a knife on TikTok, court told

A man accused of murder shared pictures of himself with a knife on TikTok to gain more followers, a court has heard.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai is charged with the murder of Thomas Roberts, 21, outside a Subway sandwich shop in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, in the early hours of March 12, 2022.

In the months before the incident, Abdulrahimzai shared pictures of himself posing with a knife about 10 inches long on the social media and video sharing app TikTok.

He had been seen carrying a knife by his foster parent, who had warned him not to, and had also been warned by police and social workers of the dangers of carrying a knife.

When asked by prosecution solicitor Nic Lobbenberg KC, at Salisbury Crown Court, why he carried a knife, he said: “I was fearing for my life, there were people from home who wanted to kill me and people in Bournemouth had threatened to stab me to death.

“What would you do in my situation?

“I was given it by my friend for my safety. It’s a five-inch blade and I think I’ve seen other people with 22-inch knives.

“My intention wasn’t for everyone to see it, it was taken by friends. I put it on TikTok to get some followers.

“There’s just people out there liking knives.”

Mr Lobbenberg asked Abdulrahimzai whether he was giving the message “don’t mess with me, I’m an armed man”, when he shared the picture on social media.

Abdulrahimzai replied: “That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to get a few more followers.”

He arrived in the UK in December 2019, and told the authorities he was 16 when he was arrested, but the court has since determined that he is now 21.

The defendant, who was living in Poole, Dorset, at the time of the incident, denies murder and the trial continues.