Ukrainian racist Pavlo ‘Pasha’ Lapshyn launched the terrifying hate campaign as soon as he arrived in Birmingham on a work scholarship.
Five days after setting foot in this country the postgraduate engineering student knifed Mohammed Saleem three times in the back as the 82-year-old victim walked home from evening prayers.
Then the 25-year-old self-styled white supremacist embarked on a bombing campaign that targeted mosques in an escalating offensive designed to stir up racial conflict.
Mr Saleem died because he was Asian and walking alone near his Small Heath home when spotted by knife-wielding Lapshyn who later told detectives that the random attack was launched because the victim ‘was a Muslim and there were no witnesses’. Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, from the West Midland Counter Terrorism Unit, concluded: “He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Others were more fortunate as sheer luck allowed them to escape unscathed from one of the blasts because the Kanzul Iman Central Jamia Mosque in Binfield Street, Tipton forgot to update their website with news that prayers were being held an hour later than usual on the first Friday of Ramadan.
If they had taken place at the normal time many of the 200 strong congregation are likely to have been in the line of fire when a bomb made by Lapshyn sent a deadly shower of nails sweeping across the car park, hurling debris in a 70m circle.
The rabid racist had detonators and chemicals for at least three more bombs but was caught before he could strike again thanks to a mixture of hi-tech investigative skills and good old fashioned police work.