An Afghan asylum seeker will be convicted of murdering a man over an argument over a scooter

A double killer who sought asylum in the UK will be sentenced on Wednesday for murdering a man after an argument over a scooter.

On Monday, Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai was found guilty of the murder of 21-year-old Thomas Roberts in Bournemouth, Dorset, last year.

Following the verdict at Salisbury Crown Court, prosecutor Nic Lobbenberg revealed that Abdulrahimzai had previously been convicted of murdering two people in Serbia.

He was found guilty of two murders as well as a related firearms offense in 2020 after a trial in his absence as he had already fled Serbia.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes committed between July 31 and August 1, 2018.

Abdulrahimzai fled Afghanistan after saying his parents were killed by the Taliban and he was tortured by them.

Mr. Roberts acted as a “conciliator” in the early hours of March 12, 2022, after his friend James Medway got into an argument with Abdulrahimzai.

Mr. Medway wanted to take the e-scooter Abdulrahimzai had reserved for himself and had left it leaning against the window of a Subway sandwich shop on Old Christchurch Road.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai's court case

CCTV captured Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai riding an e-scooter shortly before the killing (Dorset Police/PA)

In a confrontation that lasted only 24 seconds, Mr. Roberts punched Abdulrahimzai in the face.

Abdulrahimzai then revealed a knife he had hidden between two pairs of trousers he was wearing and stabbed Mr. Roberts twice before fleeing into the nearby woods.

He buried the knife in the woods, then burned the pants, jacket and Afghan flag he wore as a scarf.

However, while escaping, he dropped his mobile phone and was traced to his home address.

Months before the incident, Abdulrahimzai shared photos of himself with a knife around 10 inches long on social media and video sharing app TikTok.

He was seen carrying a knife by his adoptive parent, who warned him not to, and was also warned by police and social workers about the dangers of carrying a knife.

Abdulrahimzai told the court that he carried the knife because he was “fearing” for his life, because there were people from Afghanistan who wanted to kill him, and he had been threatened with death in Bournemouth.

The defendant said he posted pictures of his knife on TikTok to gain followers from “people who like knives.”

Abdulrahimzai, who was living in Poole at the time of the crime, arrived in the UK in December 2019 and told authorities he was 16 when he was arrested, but the court has since determined that he is now 21.

In his defence, Abdulrahimzai said he had no intention of killing or really seriously harming Mr Roberts – he “acted instinctively”, said he was “fearing for his life” and felt he had to defend himself.

He will be sentenced in the same court by Judge Paul Dugdale on Wednesday.

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