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Home Office to investigate ‘full circumstances’ of asylum seeker guilty of murder

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, walking in Bournemouth (Dorset Police/PA)
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, walking in Bournemouth (Dorset Police/PA)

An investigation will take place into the “red flags missed” for an Afghan asylum seeker who killed a man in a row over an e-scooter.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the Home Office will look at the “full circumstances” surrounding the case of Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai.

Abdulrahimzai was found guilty of killing 21-year-old Thomas Roberts outside a Subway sandwich shop in Bournemouth, Dorset, in March, last year.

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

Abdulrahimzai, who arrived in the UK in December 2019, told the authorities at the time of his arrest that he was 16, before it was determined at Salisbury Crown Court that his true age now is 21.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai court case
Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai (Dorset Police/PA)

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative former minister Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) said: “Could I ask for a formal Home Office investigation into the Afghan asylum seeker Abdulrahimzai, who murdered Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last year?

“Abdulrahimzai had a criminal record for murder in Serbia, a criminal record for drugs in Italy and then threatened his foster carer here in the UK and bluffed his way into our asylum system posing as a minor.

“So many red flags missed that could have revealed what a threat to society this individual was.

“There are lesson to be learned. Please will the minister launch an investigation?”

Cabinet meeting
Minister of State at the Home Office Robert Jenrick (James Manning/PA)

Mr Jenrick replied: “This is a terrible case and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Roberts.

“As you’ll know sentencing is yet to take place, but we will be investigating the full circumstances surrounding the case so that we can ensure we learn all the lessons.

“One that we will certainly be taking forward is … a more robust method for assessing the age of those coming into the country, taking advantage of modern scientific methods.”

Abdulrahimzai will be sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday