18 January 2023

Murder accused who posed with knife ‘revels in violence’, court hears

18 January 2023

A man accused of murder who shared pictures of himself posing with a knife on TikTok “revels in violence”, a court has heard.

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, 21, stabbed Thomas Roberts twice in the early hours of March 12, 2022, in Bournemouth, Dorset.

Thomas Roberts was acting as the “peacemaker” after Abdulrahimzai entered into an argument with his friend James Medway, who wanted to take a scooter Abdulrahimzai had claimed for himself and left propped against the window of a Subway sandwich shop.

The trial at Salisbury Crown Court came to a close on Wednesday as closing speeches were delivered by both the prosecution and defence and judge Paul Dugdale issued legal directions to the jury.

Nic Lobbenberg KC, prosecuting, said: “Twenty four seconds is all the time it took for Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai to confront, argue with and kill Thomas Roberts.

“We know he fought at school, we know he got into trouble – this is the clearest and most obvious evidence of somebody that revels in violence.

“It goes beyond that, because this is someone who carries a knife despite having been warned by his foster carer, the police, and social workers.

“He told many people he had an ongoing concern about people from back at home who would threaten him – he was concerned about the Taliban because of his experiences.

“But you know, on that night he wore an Afghan flag as a scarf. If he was so frightened of being visible to the Taliban why was he wearing a high visibility Afghan flag?

“You know from the pathologist that there were no defence wounds on Thomas Robert’s hands. He didn’t have a chance at defending himself.

“The only proper verdict in this case is guilty of murder.”

Jo Martin KC, defending, said: “You need to ask yourself what he was planning on doing with the knife and the honest answer is that he planned to do nothing with the knife that night.

“He wasn’t going out looking for reasons to use it, it was about using it if he believed he needed to defend himself – and at most if he needed to he would get it out and show it.

“What Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai did was a fantastically reckless, out of control act and this young man just legged it and hoped he could get away with it.

“If it was James Medway who was becoming aggressive over the scooter and Lawangeen responded to that threat he perceived, when Thomas does turn up looking like he’s the peacemaker that’s not what Lawangeen sees.

“He sees another man coming into this argument, two on one. Thomas hit Lawangeen with his left hand, a left hook with an open hand, while Lawangeen says it was a slap and a punch.

“His paranoia and his belief he needed to defend himself kicked in.

“Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai has his issues, he is clearly a troubled young man, but it doesn’t mean that on that fateful night he wanted to or intended to kill or cause really serious bodily harm.

“If you find him not guilty your verdict won’t make him not guilty of killing Thomas, it won’t mean Thomas or James bear any blame for what happened, it will simply mean you can’t be sure that he’s guilty of the crime of murder.”

The trial continues and the jury is set to retire on Thursday.

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