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Police missed seven chances to stop killer Afghan asylum seeker


Police were warned up to seven times that a violent Afghan asylum seeker was carrying a knife before he went on to kill again on British soil, it has emerged.

The Home Office also failed to check the fingerprints of fugitive Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai against police databases when he entered the UK - because he falsely claimed to be a child.

Abdulrahimzai was on the run from murder charges in Serbia when he arrived in Britain and was later convicted in his absence of gunning down two people with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Despite repeated warnings to UK police about Abdulrahimzai's obsession with knives, he went on to fatally stab aspiring Royal Marine Tom Roberts in Bournemouth last year.

A source who knew the killer said: 'When I saw that someone had been murdered in town and an Afghan fella with a knife had been arrested, my thoughts turned immediately to Abdulrahimzai.

'I cannot believe the police never found anything on him.'

Members of the local cricket club where Abdulrahimzai once played said they alerted Dorset Police that the Afghan, known to them as 'Lo', was carrying a machete two days before he murdered 21-year-old Mr Roberts. The force said no weapon was found.

Police also received up to six more further warnings about his tendency to carry a weapon while girls at the club were told to 'stay away' from him.

On one occasion, Abdulrahimzai - who was later estimated to be up to six years older than he claimed - was said to have sent a girl details of a failed suicide attempt after she spurned his advances.

A former friend at the cricket club, who asked not to be named, said Abdulrahimzai would sometimes arrive 'smelling of weed and booze', and was also spotted with a knife - much to the alarm of parents.

He said: 'He came to a training session on the Thursday before the murder with a machete in his bag.

'We were horrified. He was immediately banned. One of the parents refused to take him home in their car because he saw it.

'I do not know how the police didn't find anything. It was a machete, for Christ's sake.'

He said club officials told his foster mother, who said she also told police 'six times before' that she suspected he had a knife.

Short-tempered Abdulrahimzai also challenged an opposition cricketer to a fight after an argument during a match, the source said.

He said: 'They were giving our captain a bit of stick, getting in his face, and Lo started being really aggressive and responding to it.

'He called him out into the car park for a fight. Lo overreacted. He said: 'I'll f*** him up.' We calmed him down.'

Sources confirmed Abdulrahimzai was fingerprinted when he arrived in the UK in December 2019, telling officials he was 14.

But, crucially, his records were not run through international police and asylum computer systems because, at the time, he was being treated as a minor.

The following year, fingerprint comparisons revealed his previous rejected asylum claims in Norway and Italy.

But he remained free to carry on a third asylum claim here in Britain and murdered Mr Roberts in March - 27 months after arriving in the UK.

If his full history had emerged earlier it may have affected how the Home Office treated his claim, potentially revealed he was lying about his age, and Mr Roberts' murder could have been averted.

It is understood human rights issues played a key role in Abdulrahimzai's case.

Removals to Afghanistan have been almost impossible when an asylum seeker claims they are in danger from the Taliban, as the killer did.