Pavlo Lapshyn sentenced for murder and terrorism offences

Pavlo Lapshyn sentenced for murder and terrorism offences

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Image from Birmingham Mail

On 25 October 2013, Lapshyn was sentenced at the Old Bailey for various offences.

He pleaded guilty to the murder of Mohammed Saleem, aged 82 and

Mohammed Saleem was on his way home from evening prayers in Birmingham in April when Lapshyn followed him and stabbed him three times. In the following months, he was responsible for planting bombs at three mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton, in the Midlands.

He later admitted to the police that he held racist views, wished to increase racial conflict, and that his motivation was racism.

Terrorism

Lapshyn was setting off bombs near mosques in the West Midlands.

BBC News reported:

‘The first, hidden inside a child’s lunchbox, exploded outside Walsall’s Aisha Mosque on 21 June. Worshippers were inside at prayers and nobody was hurt but it still led to the evacuation of 150 people from nearby homes.’

No one was hurt in the Wolverhampton bombing either, although the device did detonate.

The bomb at the Tipton mosque was packed with 600grams of nails and was the most powerful of the three.

We understand that Lapshyn entered pleas as follows:

Walsall bomb – Guilty to preparing acts of terrorism, not guilty to causing an explosion likely to endanger life

Wolverhampton bomb – Guilty to causing explosions

Tipton bomb – Guilty to causing explosions

Murder – Guilty

Offences and maximum sentences

Terrorism Act 2006 s 5 – preparation of terrorist acts (max life imprisonment)

Explosive Substances Act 1883 s 2 – Causing explosion likely to endanger life or property (max life imprisonment)

Sentence

The mandatory sentence for murder is life. Here is an explanation of how judges approach sentencing in murder cases. The use of a knife takes the starting point to 25 years but the racial motiviation raises that to 30 years. There are obvious other aggravating features and so purely on the murder count, he is looking at a lengthy minimum term.

Of course in this case there are the terrorism offences to consider.

Lapshyn is, so many of the press have stated, in line for a whole life tariff. The sentencing judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, is the judge who sentenced Ian McLoughlin earlier in the week and held that he could not pass a whole life tariff as the European Court had ruled it to be unlawful.

We covered that issue here. We have some misgivings about that decision, however, in this case, it is likely that the judge will remain of that view. To decide that a whole life tariff is available notwithstanding the decision of the European Court in Vitner would require the judge to re-list the McLoughlin case under what is know as the slip rule, whereby judges can amend mistakes made when sentencing, so long as they are spotted within 56 days of the decision.

That would appear unlikely.

Lapshyn therefore is looking at a mandatory life sentence with a very long minimum term.

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