A UKRAINIAN student who moved to Birmingham after winning a work placement contest stabbed an 82-year-old grandfather to death within five days of arriving in the UK.
Pavlo Lapshyn landed in Britain on April 24 to further his studies and gain industry experience with a specialist Small Heath manufacturer.
At London’s Old Bailey today (Mon 21 Oct) the 25-year-old admitted fatally stabbing Mr Mohammed Saleem as he returned from evening prayers in Small Heath on April 29 – and going on to plant improvised explosive devices near mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton.
Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We found part-made devices in Lapshyn’s room – plus chemicals and bomb-making equipment – so it is clear he planned to place further devices with the intention of killing or maiming innocent members of the public.
He planted the first of his improvised explosive devices – hidden in a child’s lunchbox – by gates outside Walsall’s Aisha Mosque in Rutter Street on June 21 and followed that seven days later by detonating an IED on a roundabout near Wolverhampton Central Mosque.
Detectives investigating the initial Walsall blast trawled many hours of CCTV and managed to identify Lapshyn arriving at the scene with his deadly package and leaving minutes later empty handed.
More security camera scrutiny enabled officers to plot the Ukraine Metallurgical Academy graduate’s route on a bus to Birmingham and an earlier service taking him into the city centre from Small Heath.
Similarities between his description and that of the suspect seen running from the scene of Mr Saleem’s death led us to quiz him over the murder. Documents were found on his computer linking him to that killing and in interview he admitted being the knifeman.
- Forensic Work undertaken
When vital pieces of evidence can measure just a few millimetres in length, forensic search teams must always be ready for a challenge. The explosion by Binfield Street Mosque in Tipton provided just that.
- The device, which had been placed part way up a disused, steep and overgrown railway embankment, contained hundreds of pieces of shrapnel which were propelled over a wide area.
Officers set up a station in the car park of the mosque and the fire service built platforms and bridges to allow the search teams to access the bank. Here, attached to ropes for their safety, a finger tip search was carried out.