Ukrainian charged over UK mosque bombs

2013-07-23 22:40


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London - A Ukrainian man charged with the "terrorist-related" murder of an elderly Muslim man has also been charged over three mosque bombings in central England, a court heard on Tuesday.

Pavlo Lapshyn, a 25-year-old postgraduate student from the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, was arrested last week as part of the investigation into the explosions.

He was later charged with the murder of 82-year-old grandfather Mohammed Saleem, who was stabbed in the back in Birmingham, central England, on 29 April as he walked home from prayers.

Westminster Magistrates' Court in London was told on Tuesday that Lapshyn is now also charged with carrying out a series of acts with the intention to commit acts of terrorism.

The offences relate to three explosions in the central English towns of Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton in the last month.

The charges include purchasing batteries, a lunch bag, a clock and a container as part of the construction of an explosive device.

He is also accused of purchasing chemicals to make explosive devices, modifying mobile phones to act as detonators, and carrying out internet research.

Wearing a black top and with closely-cropped hair, and flanked by a team of police and security guards, Lapshyn spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and to request to speak to his lawyer.

He was remanded in custody and will next appear at a bail hearing at England's central criminal court, the Old Bailey, on 25 July.

A second Ukrainian man arrested in connection with the mosque bombings has been released without charge.

The pair was arrested on 18 July after the remnants of home-made explosives were found outside a mosque in Tipton on 12 July and in Walsall on 22 June.

Evidence of an explosion was later found on a roundabout near the Wolverhampton Central Mosque.

No one was injured in the explosions.

Lapshyn came to Britain to complete a work placement at a software company in Birmingham, police said, adding that officers were working with Ukrainian authorities to learn more about his past.

There has been a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Britain since May, when a soldier was hacked to death on a London street in a suspected Islamist attack.

The explosion at the Tipton mosque coincided with the funeral of 25-year-old Lee Rigby, who was murdered in broad daylight near his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London on 22 May.

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