London - A Ukrainian student was jailed for a minimum of
40 years by a British court on Friday for murdering a Muslim grandfather and
planting bombs near three mosques as part of what police called a racist terror
Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, had pleaded guilty on Monday to
stabbing 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem to death as he walked home from a mosque
in the central English city of Birmingham in April.
Lapshyn, a postgraduate student from the eastern
Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, also admitted plotting to cause explosions at
mosques in three towns in central England.
No one was injured in the blasts in the towns of Walsall,
Wolverhampton and Tipton in June and July.
Judge Nigel Sweeney, sitting at the Old Bailey in London,
the central criminal court for England and Wales, sentenced Lapshyn to life in
jail with a minimum term of 40 years on Friday.
"You clearly hold extremist right-wing, white
supremacist views and you were motivated to commit the offences by religious
and racial hatred in the hope that you would ignite racial conflict and cause
Muslims to leave the area where you were living," the judge said.
"Such views, hatred and motivations have no place
whatsoever in our multi-faith and multi-cultural society."
Police said they believed Lapshyn intended to set off
further explosions as they found more bomb-making equipment in his room in
Birmingham, where he was carrying out a work placement at a software company.
Bomber hated ‘non-whites’
After his arrest in July, Lapshyn told police he murdered
father-of-seven Saleem because he hated "non-whites".
The third bomb he planted, in Tipton, was stuffed with
shrapnel. The only reason it did not cause mass injuries was that prayers had
been delayed by an hour that Friday.
Saleem's daughter Shazia Khan, who watched from the
courtroom as Lapshyn was sentenced, described her father's killer as a
"The shock and sadness of the reality is impossible
to accept," she said in a statement read by the judge to the court.
Lapshyn had only arrived in Britain a few days before the
The mosque bombings took place at a time of high tension
in Britain, following the brutal hacking to death of a soldier on a London
street in May by attackers who said they were avenging the killing of Muslims
by British troops in Afghanistan.
Several mosques were attacked by arsonists and vandals in
the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.
Two Muslim converts are due to stand trial for his murder