'Unspeakable loss': Detective's praise for family of murder victim

Floral tributes placed in Horseshoe Common to Tom Roberts, inset, who was murdered outside Subway in Old Christchurch Road <i>(Image: Newsquest/submit)</i>
Floral tributes placed in Horseshoe Common to Tom Roberts, inset, who was murdered outside Subway in Old Christchurch Road (Image: Newsquest/submit)

A SENIOR detective has praised the family of a young man who was murdered on the streets of Bournemouth after his killer was told he will spend at least 29 years in prison.

Tom Roberts, 21, died in hospital after being stabbed twice by Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai outside Subway in Old Christchurch Road in the early hours on March 12 last year.

Abdulrahimzai was found guilty of murder following a trial at Salisbury Crown Court and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years behind bars at a hearing on Wednesday, January 25.

Bournemouth Echo: Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai
Bournemouth Echo: Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai (Image: Dorset Police)

Peacemaker Mr Roberts was stabbed after stepping between his friend and the defendant, who had got into an altercation over an e-scooter.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s major crime investigation team, said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of Thomas Roberts and I want to thank them again for the dignified way they have conducted themselves throughout the investigation and court proceedings.

“I would also like to thank all those from Dorset Police and the prosecution team from the Crown Prosecution Service, who have worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Tommy and his family.

“Tommy’s family and loved ones have suffered an unspeakable loss as a result of this horrific incident involving a knife.

“If you believe someone is in immediate possession of a knife or offensive weapon, please dial 999. If you would like to report your concerns about a knife carrier or need some advice, please call 101 or visit dorset.police.uk and report it online.”

Abdulrahimzai was identified through a phone that he dropped near the scene of the stabbing and subsequent CCTV enquiries. He was arrested during the early hours of Sunday, March 13.

During the course of the investigation, it was revealed Abdulrahimzai had a previous conviction for murder in Serbia under the name Huan Yasin relating to the killing of two people with a rifle in 2018.

The defendant had fled the country before he was convicted in his absence. He also had also been convicted for drug offences in Italy in 2017.

Bournemouth Echo:
Bournemouth Echo:

Abdulrahimzai arrived in the UK at the Port of Poole on December 26, 2019, and told authorities he was 14 years old. The court heard that he was actually 18.

He was looked after by a foster parent from January 2020 to August 2021 before being moved to a new placement due to an incident in which he almost headbutted his carer.

The trial heard he got into fights at school and carried a knife when out in the conurbation, despite warnings from police.

DCI Huxter said: “Matters relating to the defendant’s background and previous convictions have been shared with relevant agencies to ensure appropriate reviews are carried out and areas for learning are identified.

“However, my focus over the past nine months as senior investigating officer has been to gather evidence relating to the brutal murder of Thomas Roberts and ensure his killer was brought to justice for this offence.”

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