Extremist Pavlo Lapshyn admits murdering elderly Muslim man and committing mosque attacks in attempt to spark 'race war'

Pavlo Lapshyn stabbed 82-year-old victim in back just days after he arrived from Ukraine to start prestigious placement at software design firm

Crime Correspondent

An unrepentant Ukrainian right-wing extremist has admitted murdering an elderly Muslim man and a series of bomb attacks on mosques to try to spark a race war in Britain.

Pavlo Lapshyn, a talented and highly intelligent engineer, stabbed his 82-year-old victim three times in the back just five days after he stepped off a plane to start a prestigious placement at a hi-tech software design firm in Birmingham.

Mohammed Saleem was attacked as he was walking from prayers but police appeals - with little forensic evidence, no witnesses and only grainy CCTV footage - meant that detectives had little to go on until Lapshyn began his bombing campaign nearly two months later.

Lapshyn, 25, from the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, was a self-radicalised extremist inspired by Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, whose picture he posted online on the night of his first bomb attack on a mosque in Walsall, West Midlands on 21 June.

The attacks escalated over the next three weeks with the most lethal device packed with hundreds of nails designed to maim people gathering in the car park of Tipton Mosque for Friday prayers. Carnage was only avoided because the time for prayers advertised on the mosque's website was delayed by an hour because it was Ramadan.

"Had it been full, the consequences would have been unimaginable," said Det Supt Shaun Edwards, who headed the investigation that finally caught Lapshyn.

At the Old Bailey yesterday, Lapshyn admitted the murder and the bombings in what were the most significant far-right attacks launched in Britain since neo-Nazi David Copeland's 13 day bombing campaign in 1999. Copeland was jailed for life for two bombings targeting ethnic minorities in London before detonating a nail bomb in Soho targeting gay people at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in 1999, killing three people and injuring more than 100 people.

Police believe Lapshyn was a 'lone wolf' and even the fellow intern who was sharing his flat at Delcam plc on a Birmingham industrial estate, had no idea what he was doing despite the chemicals and timing devices stashed around their accommodation.

Mohammed Saleem was stabbed to death on his way home from a mosque  

Lapshyn's arrest six days after the third attack foiled his plans for a continuing campaign of violence during the fevered period just weeks after the killing of soldier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks.

Officers found three mobile phones in his flat that were specially adapted to work as timers to carry out further attacks. "A series of explosions may achieve more," he told detectives during his interviews. "I have a racial hatred so I have a racial motivation."

Lapshyn was arrested by police as tensions were rising before an English Defence League rally in the city and the "calm, collected and committed" racist immediately confessed to what he had done.

Lapshyn even told interviewers about another small device that had exploded outside a mosque that police had not even known about.

In his disclosures to police, Lapshyn told police that his reason for carrying out the attacks was "racism" and added: "I would like to increase racial conflict."

British police are still investigating whether he had a violent history in his own country after he was believed to have been arrested by Ukrainian police in 2010 after an explosion in his flat during bomb-making experiments.

Analysis of his computer revealed he had researched white supremacist movements and documents found on his computer included the Turner Diaries, a virulently right wing novel by neo Nazi William Luther Pierce from the 1970s. It portrays the overthrow of the US government and wider race war.

He had known for nearly two years that he was travelling to Britain for the prestigious placement at Delcam after securing a third place in a competition for his Phd work on machine building at the National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine.

An unsmiling Lapshyn was pictured at an awards ceremony at the official residence of the former British ambassador to Ukraine, Leigh Turner. A later examination of his computer indicated that he had planning his campaign before he arrived in the country.

Just five days later, Mr Saleem, a father-of-seven who walked with a stick, was apparently randomly selected and had been "in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Det Supt Edwards.

He was found in a pool of blood just a few yards from his home on April 29. "It was an act of terrorism because he was killed for his faith," said his daughter Shazia Khan.

The 25-year-old detonated the first of three home-made bombs hidden inside a "Great White Shark" children's lunchbox outside Walsall Mosque. He was caught on CCTV carrying the box to plant by iron gates outside the main complex before walking away empty-handed.

Pavlo Lapshyn caught a bus from Birmingham to Walsall carrying the bomb Pavlo Lapshyn took a bus from Birmingham to Walsall while carrying the bomb (East Midlands Police)
Police questioned a man over the attack and Lapshyn later claimed to have carried out a second bombing a week later close to Wolverhampton mosque because they arrested the wrong man.

The third was the most devastating with inch-long nails found embedded in a fence on the other side of the road from the mosque. Even though Lapshyn had been caught on CCTV before the murder and after the bomb attacks, the public response had been muted because he had spent so little time in the country and rarely been spotted in public.

Book of hate: Lapshyn’s inspiration

Pavlo Lapshyn’s arrival in Britain triggered the start of a series of extremist postings that revealed his belief in white racial superiority.

Documents found on his computer included “The Turner Diaries”, a virulently right-wing novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce from the 1970s. The book branded by activists as the ‘bible of the racist right’ portrays the overthrow of the US government and wider race war.

The book was also the inspiration for the home-grown neo-Nazi David Copeland, who was jailed for two bombings targeting ethnic minorities in London before detonating a nail bomb in Soho targeting gay people at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in 1999, leaving three people dead.

After arriving in Britain, Lapshyn posted a poem of an imprisoned Russian neo-Nazi, a picture of Timothy McVeigh and a song by a German white supremacist group, said Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian academic investigating the far-right in Ukraine based at University College London.

“There were a lot of conspiracy theories that he had been set up and some British person committed the crime. There was a very strong sense of denial in Ukraine,” said Mr Shekhovtsov.

News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn