Triple killer who murdered aspiring marine in 26 second scooter row outside Subway is jailed

A triple killer who murdered an aspiring Royal Marine in a 26-second row over a scooter has been jailed.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai killed 21-year-old Thomas Roberts outside a Subway takeaway in Bournemouth, Dorset, last year. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years at Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday.

After he was found guilty on Monday, prosecutor Nic Lobbenberg revealed Afghan asylum seeker Abdulrahimzai had been previously convicted of murdering two people in Serbia.

Abdulrahimzai killed his victim outside a Subway takeaway (PA Media)
Abdulrahimzai killed his victim outside a Subway takeaway (PA Media)

Abdulrahimzai was on the run when he arrived in the UK, but his violent past went undetected and he even managed to dupe officials into believing he was 14 – up to six years younger than his actual age. The court previously heard that the killer had believed he was the younger age because that was what he had been told by an uncle while in Afghanistan.

According to reports, police were warned seven times Abdulrahimzai had been carrying a knife before he went on to stab Mr Roberts outside the takeaway.

The fugitive killer was also put in foster care on his arrival in the UK despite being convicted in his absence of murdering two people with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in Serbia.

The Home Office said it will investigate the “red flags missed” and look at the full circumstances surrounding the case.

Before jailing Abdulrahimzai to life, judge Paul Dugdale said: “On 12 March 2022, you murdered Thomas Roberts, a man you had never met before.

Abdulrahimzai was caught on CCTV on a bus in Bournemouth (PA)
Abdulrahimzai was caught on CCTV on a bus in Bournemouth (PA)

“You spent 26 seconds of your life with him, at the end of which you stabbed him fatally twice to the chest with a large knife you routinely carried with you. You started the conflict and throughout you were the threatening aggressor.

“In seconds you took the life of a thoroughly decent man with a bright future who was loved greatly by so many people.

“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.

“Growing up in Afghanistan would have had an impact on a young child and it has serious damaging effects on the personality and behaviour of those who have lived through it, but we must be careful as to how it is to be taken into account.

“Abdulrahimzai’s past life experiences have left him very damaged, I accept that it has affected how he interacts with people and how he reacts to some situations.

Abdulrahimzai, pictured following his arrest, was on the run for a previous murder (PA Media)
Abdulrahimzai, pictured following his arrest, was on the run for a previous murder (PA Media)

“Abdulrahimzai went out armed with a large sheathed knife knowing he would pull it out and use it should the need arise.

“He didn’t hide from conflict, he didn’t avoid situations that would put him at risk of becoming involved in violence, quite the reverse, as seen during the approach and argument with another man and the approach to Thomas Roberts and James Medway. He went seeking trouble with a knife.”

Ahead of the sentencing, victim impact statements were read out by Mr Roberts’ loved ones.

His mother Dolores Wallace said she was the “proudest mummy in the world” of her “perfect” son.

The statement, read by prosecutor Nic Lobbenberg KC, said: “He was a perfect baby boy who brought us such joy. My heart bleeds, brokenhearted, knowing you are not here anymore.

“Since you were born until the day of your death, I will never forget you.

“I’m the proudest mummy in the world. It is just unbelievable that you are gone forever.”

His father Philip Roberts added: “I miss him very much in so many ways – his struggle to get up for work at 5.30am, I miss having his help fixing things at home, I miss all his friends coming to the house, I miss his lovely girlfriend coming to stay with him.

“Tommy is my only son, I always wanted a son and he has been taken away from me, leaving a terrible void. I miss him every day, every hour, every minute. Now I ask justice is served.”

Following the sentencing a Home Office spokesperson said: “We welcome the judge’s sentencing in this horrific case.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Thomas Roberts, whose life has been needlessly cut short.

“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.

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