Afghan asylum seeker jailed for life for murdering aspiring Royal Marine over scooter row

  • Rupert Evelyn reports after Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai was jailed for life


An Afghan asylum seeker who murdered a DJ in Bournemouth in Dorset following a row about an e-scooter has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 29 years.

On Monday Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai was found guilty by majority verdict of murdering 21-year-old Thomas Roberts outside the Subway restaurant on Old Christchurch Road. 

Today at Salisbury Crown Court he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 29 years.

The court heard the victim, Mr Roberts, was with a friend outside the Subway restaurant at 4:30am on 12 March 2022, when the became involved in a disagreement with the defendant over an unattended electric scooter.

Mr Roberts, who was acting as a peacemaker during the incident, was stabbed twice to his left side by Abdulrahimzai. He collapsed as Abdulrahimzai left the scene.

Police say 21-year-old Thomas Roberts' loved ones have suffered an unspeakable loss. Credit: Dorset Police

Members of the public helped to provide first aid before police and paramedics arrived. Mr Roberts was taken to hospital, but was pronounced dead at 8.10am.

A phone left near the scene helped police identify Abdulrahimzai, and he was arrested during the early hours of Sunday 13 March 2022.

The police investigation revealed that Abdulrahimzai had a previous conviction for murder in Serbia relating to the killing of two people in 2018. He fled the country before he was convicted in his absence. He'd also been convicted for drug offences in Italy in 2017.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Huxter, of MCIT, 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.

Emergency services were called to the scene outside the Subway restaurant on Old Christchurch Road in Bournemouth in March 2022. Credit: ITV Meridian

“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.”

DCI Huxter added: “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.”