Murdered Royal Marine's stepfather blames Home Office for his death

Stepfather of aspiring Royal Marine, 21, murdered by fugitive asylum seeker who killed twice before coming to the UK blames the Home Office for his death

  • Thomas Roberts was stabbed to death by fugitive Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai
  • His stepfather Peter Wallace holds Home Office ‘responsible for Tommy’s death’

The stepfather of an aspiring Royal Marine who was killed by a triple-murdering asylum seeker blames the Home Office for his son’s death. 

Thomas Roberts, 21, was stabbed to death in Dorset last year by an Afghan fugitive who had posed as a 14-year-old orphan and came to the UK on a cross-Channel ferry in December 2019 to claim asylum. 

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai had already committed a double murder in Serbia when he arrived in Britain at age 19. But Border Force believed his teenage orphan tale and he was placed with a foster parent and allowed to attend a secondary school where he mixed with pupils as young as 11 until he got excluded for carrying a knife.

The Home Office has now conducted an inquiry into the case which has reportedly concluded that officials made several blunders which allowed him to stay in Britain. 

Peter Wallace, Mr Roberts’ stepfather of 20 years, today revealed that nobody from the immigration authority has ever been in contact with the grieving family to offer an apology or explanation for what went wrong. 

Mr Wallace says he holds the Government ‘responsible for Tommy’s death’ and blames officials for both ‘tearing his family apart’ and ignoring the ‘warning signs’ that Abdulrahimzai was dangerous.

The stepfather of murdered aspiring marine Thomas Roberts (pictured) blames the Home Office for his son’s death

Mr Roberts was stabbed to death in Dorset last year by Afghan fugitive Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai (pictured) who had posed as a 14-year-old orphan and came to the UK on a cross-Channel ferry in December 2019 to claim asylum

Peter Wallace, (pictured) Mr Roberts’ stepfather of 20 years, today revealed that nobody from the Home Office has ever been in contact with the grieving family to offer an apology or explanation for what went wrong. He holds the authority ‘responsible for Tommy’s death’

Abdulrahimzai, 21, was jailed for 29 years in January for fatally stabbing Mr Roberts in the chest outside a Subway in Bournemouth, Dorset, in March last year. 

The aspiring marine was killed while trying to play peacemaker between his friend and the murderer during a row over an e-scooter following a night out.

Following his conviction, it emerged that Abdulrahimzai – who was born in Afghanistan – had been sentenced in his absence to a 20-year prison term in Serbia for shooting dead two people, but had duped Home Office and Border Force officials into believing he was a 14-year-old boy whose parents were murdered by the Taliban.  

It has been reported that the Home Office made mistakes when probing his asylum case, including a failure to do proper finger print checks, paperwork mix-ups stalling the discovery of his true identity and not following up red flags on his violent past for three years. 

Now, Mr Roberts’ angry stepfather has slammed the Government for its failures and argues that had ‘had done their job he would still be alive.’

‘There were so many warning signs that he (Abdulrahimzai) should not be here yet the Home Office did nothing about it,’ Mr Wallace said.

‘He was kicked out of Norway and Italy but not here and for that reason I hold the Home Office responsible for Tommy’s death. If someone had done their job he would still be alive.’

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai, an Afghan asylum seeker, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years at Salisbury Crown Court earlier this week

He argued that Abdulrahimzai ‘should have been locked up before he killed Tommy’ and that it was ‘so obvious that the guy was just waiting to kill someone’.

‘It just happened unfortunately to be Tommy,’ he said of Abdulrahimzai’s murderous tendencies. ‘I’m so angry about it.

‘I would have expected an apology or an explanation or something but nobody from the Home Office has said anything to us. There has been no communication whatsoever. I find it hard to believe.

‘It is not just the Home Office but immigration officials and social workers. Everyone who was involved in him (Abdulrahimzai) being here is guilty because none of them did their jobs. He was flagged up every week and every month.

Mr Wallace added: ‘He was carrying a knife and threatening people with a knife and nobody did anything. He spun some story about coming from a war-torn country. That was all b******s’.

‘We will never be able to bring Tommy back but things must change and they must do proper checks so someone else does not die like this. It’s torn our family apart.’

Abdulrahimzai’s criminal background only became known after he was arrested for stabbing Mr Roberts. Until then, he had been in the care of social services and foster families after his lies that his parents had been killed were accepted.

Home Office officials pledged to investigate the ‘red flags missed’ after the killer was jailed for life with a minimum of 29 years in January.

But despite calls for full transparency by Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, the Home Office announced two weeks ago that their findings would not be made public.

Abdulrahimzai (centre with black hood) was caught on camera headbutting a reveller on a night just minutes before he murdered an aspiring Royal Marine in a row over an e-scooter

Bodycam footage showing Afghan Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai (centre) being arrested by police in March last year

The Mail on Sunday yesterday revealed how the inquiry exposed a catalogue of incompetence where civil servants did not do basic checks. They included: 

  • Failure to carry out a Eurodac fingerprint check to search a Europe-wide database of asylum seekers;
  • Paperwork mix-ups so checks to discover his true identity stalled;
  • A red flag on his violent past not being followed-up for three years – and only after he had killed again.

A source told the MoS: ‘The most basic checks were not completed. When he arrived in this country, he lied about his identity – not an uncommon problem – but we have a sophisticated system designed to overcome that. In this case, the system was not used properly.

‘It was a mess from start to finish. There was a lot of faffing about with social services, mental health assessments, missed appointments and issues with translators that seriously delayed matters. By the time they got to the bottom of it and discovered his horrifying criminal record, it was too late and he had killed again – this time on the streets of Britain.’

The Home Office, when approached by the MoS, said it would not comment on an individual case but admitted that prompt, mandatory Eurodac checks are ‘critical to a safe and secure immigration system’.

A spokesman said: ‘Foreign national offenders who exploit our system and commit crimes here in the UK will face the full force of the law . . . The Government is committed to stopping abuse of the immigration system, taking decisive action against those who try to play the system.’

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