Archive

Tag Archives: mosque conviction

The chemical engineer claimed he was making fireworks at HMP Wakefield

A white supremacist who stabbed an elderly man to death and planted home-made bombs at mosques has admitted making an explosive substance in his cell at a maximum-security jail.

Self-radicalised extremist Pavlo Lapshyn, 32, a chemical engineer, used salt, copper wire, pencil and other substances to form an ingredient which could be used to cause an explosion.

When officers at the category A prison HMP Wakefield found a plate with a white substance on it in his cell in August 2018, he told them he was trying to make a firework.

HMP Wakefield is known as Monster Mansion due to the number of high-profile, high-risk sex offenders and murderers there.

Lapshyn, a Ukrainian national, had just started a work placement in the UK when he murdered 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem in Small Heath, Birmingham, by randomly stabbing the grandfather in the back with a hunting knife in 2013.

In the following months he planted bombs near mosques in the West Midlands, later stating his aim was to start a race war.

Since he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 40 years he has been assessed by psychiatrists and has an autism diagnosis along with “significant mental health problems”, Leeds Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to making an explosive substance via a videolink from HMP Whitemoor, was heard singing at points during the hearing and declined to be present when Judge Tom Bayliss QC passed a two-year jail sentence.

Peter Hampton, prosecuting, said Lapshyn admitted to officers that he had been preparing chemicals during their routine search of his cell and they informed counter-terrorism specialists in the prison.

They knew of his background as a chemical engineering PhD student, his racially-motivated murder and explosives campaign, and “a long-standing interest in pyrotechnics”, Mr Hampton said.

The defendant told officers he was trying to produce potassium chloride. A smell of bleach could be detected in the cell.

A forensic expert who was called in determined Lapshyn had formed a viable explosive substance.

Attempts were made to interview the defendant about this, the court heard, but he was unable or unwilling to assist.

After moving to HMP Whitemoor, he wrote a chemical formula on his cell wall which he said was related to pyrotechnics.

Searches of his cell there found he was hiding substances including vinegar, artificial sweetener and salt.

Mr Hampton said of his offending at HMP Wakefield: “The defendant’s actions clearly caused the risk of explosion or fire within a category A prison, potentially to harm officers, other prisoners or Mr Lapshyn himself, and interferes with the general running of the prison.”

Judge Bayliss said it was right for the CPS to bring the prosecution but he would not pass a consecutive sentence as Lapshyn – whom he described as a “highly intelligent man” – was already serving a minimum term of 40 years.

He said: “He wouldn’t even be considered for release by the Parole Board until he is 65 and he is very unlikely ever to be released given his position.”

Manchester Evening Post

A Ukrainian student has been jailed for at least 40 years for murdering an 82-year-old man and plotting explosions near mosques in racist attacks.

Pavlo Lapshyn stabbed Mohammed Saleem in Small Heath, Birmingham on 29 April, five days after arriving in the UK.

On Monday, Lapshyn, 25, admitted murder as well as plotting to cause explosions near mosques in Walsall, Tipton and Wolverhampton in June and July.

At the Old Bailey, he was told he would be jailed for life.

Mr Saleem was stabbed to death, just yards from his home, after attending prayers at his local mosque in Green Lane.

Lapshyn, from Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine, was living in Birmingham while on a temporary work placement in the city when he killed Mr Saleem, a grandfather of 22.

He later planted three bombs near mosques in the West Midlands as part of a campaign he said was motivated by racial hatred.

He was arrested almost a week after an explosion in Tipton.

‘Hated non-whites’

The third device, which exploded near the Kanzul Iman mosque in Tipton on 12 July, was packed with nails.

Police said it was only because Lapshyn got the wrong time for Friday prayers that the blast did not cause mass injuries.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Sweeney told him: “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.

“Such views, hatred and motivations have no place whatsoever in our multi-faith and multi-cultural society.”

He added Lapshyn held “views abhorrent to all right-thinking people which have no place in our multi-cultural society”.

During interviews, Lapshyn told police he had murdered the grandfather of 22 because he hated “non-whites”.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the Old Bailey that PhD student Lapshyn had come to the UK on a work placement with software company Delcam.

The firm’s sponsorship programme in partnership with the National Metallurgy Academy in Ukraine is now under review following his crimes.

Lapshyn’s apartment, above Delcam’s offices in Birmingham, were raided by police who found chemicals and bomb-making equipment for another three devices.
‘White power’

They also discovered a camera containing 455 photographs and 98 videos. Some of them showed Lapshyn detonating homemade bombs in the Ukrainian countryside. The camera also included shots of him making bombs.

The force’s anti-terrorism unit also discovered apparent anonymous notes in the apartment which he planned to use to taunt police.

One featured a photograph of the hunting knife, next to which Lapshyn had written “Mohammed Saleem was killed by”.

He also referred to a police reward for information, saying “£10,000 small price, maybe £1m”, followed by a smiley face, and the phrase “white power”.

The court heard Lapshyn had a video game on his laptop called Ethnic Cleansing and also posed for white a supremacist website with the knife.

Defending, Richard Atkins QC said “we accept that his crimes are grave” and “the appropriate penalty we submit is life with a substantial minimum term”.

Mr Atkins told the court that Lapshyn is being kept in segregation and that the only person he speaks to regularly is his father.

In an interview with the BBC, Lapshyn’s father, Sergey Lapshyn, said he did not believe his son was a racist.

“Among his acquaintances were people of different ethnic backgrounds, and I have never seen that (racism),” he said.

He added his son could be “a bit tight-lipped” but was not calculating, as police had described him.

Speaking from his home in Dnepropetrovsk, Lapshyn’s father confirmed his own mother was a Muslim during her childhood.

Lapshyn’s father said his son knew his grandmother was a member of the (largely Muslim) Tatar community at the time of the former Soviet Union.

“We never discussed religious problems and we always considered them to be very intimate,” he said.
‘Can’t move forward’

Mr Saleem’s family said their father had not done anything to deserve to die, other than be a Muslim.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Saleem’s daughter Shazia Khan said: “The shock and sadness of the reality is impossible to accept, yet alone accept and move on.

“We can’t move forward, the murder has disabled our minds in every emotional way possible.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale from West Midlands Police said Lapshyn was “very definitely driven by an extreme right-wing ideology and white supremacist ideology”.

Asked to describe Lapshyn’s manner in police interview, he said: “He was matter-of-fact, he was cold, he was callous.

“I do not think he has shown any remorse or regret for the crimes that have taken place.”

BBC News

From 2013

RACIST firebomber Mark Bulman has been jailed for five years after trying to torch the Broad Street mosque.

The 22-year-old used a British National Party leaflet as a fuse in a petrol-filled beer bottle which he hurled through a window at the place of worship.

But the Molotov cocktail failed to ignite so the self-confessed bigot handed himself in to the police saying that they would find his fingerprints on it.

And as well as trying to burn the mosque to ash and rubble’ Bulman also daubed racist graffiti on the walls.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that police received a call shortly before 1am on Thursday, August 17 from the defendant.

After he told them what he had done an officer went to the scene and found him near Fleming Way.

The racist was armed with a chair leg which he said he needed to protect himself from the enemy’.

He referred to the Broad Street area as enemy territory’ because it had businesses owned by people from ethnic minorities.

Bulman also daubed swastikas on the outside of the mosque as well as other racist messages on a wall in Turl Street.

In a rambling interview Bulman told police of his dislike for anyone apart from white British people.

When his house was searched, officers found a variety of racist material and he admitted being a BNP sympathiser and had been on their rallies in the past.

Bulman, of Montrose Close, Moredon, admitted arson, attempted arson and two counts of religiously aggravated criminal damage.

Philip Warren, defending, said “On any view of it, it is a horrible and serious business.

“It is highly offensive, deliberately offensive, and the offence and outrage caused must have been massive.”

He said his client had told the psychiatrist that he wanted to reduce the mosque to “ash and rubble” and “to give the establishment and lefties a wake up call.”

But Mr Warren said: “This was by any standards an amateur and inept act not a concerted attempt to burn the building.”

Having spent 140 days in prison on remand he said that his client, who had no previous convictions, had time to reflect on his “skewed views” of society and wanted to change.

From now on he said that he sought to use the pen rather than the sword to get his opinions across and Mr Warren said Bulman wished to address the court.

But Judge Douglas Field refused to allow it saying: “I am not going to allow a political speech.”

“There has to be a deterrent element to my sentence to deter stupid people like you.

“You are a racial bigot. It was your wish and intention to burn that building to the ground. We have mixed races in Swindon and it is extremely important that we all get on together.”

Swindon Advertiser

From 2007

A racist who attacked a woman and made threats to kill another and to stab a third has also admitted he threatened to damage a mosque.

Declan Moorhouse, 21, is due to be sentenced for offences including common assault, harassing a woman and a man, and sending a message threatening to kill another woman.

He is also awaiting sentence for threatening to start fires on two other occasions, once to a house and on a later date to vehicles.

All of those offences happened between September and November last year.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday Moorhouse changed his plea on another matter of threatening to damage Telford Central Mosque to guilty.

He made that threat to a probation officer in a meeting on April 8.

Judge Anthony Lowe said that Moorhouse’s crimes were linked to “different behavioural traits” including racist ideas and issues around the breakdown of a relationship.

Judge Lowe adjourned the case to November 29, so that a psychiatric report on Moorhouse can be updated before he is sentenced.

Moorhouse’s representative Rob Edwards conceded that the threshold for a jail sentence had been crossed, but said that if Moorhouse went to prison he would be unlikely to address properly his mental health and behavioural issues and the chances of “breaking the cycle of offending” would be lower.

Moorhouse will be sentenced for 10 offences in all, including the threat to the mosque in April, and the five crimes from October last year including harassment, making threats and damaging a wall.

Another three relate to his threat to and assault of a woman on September 14 last year, and the final offence of threatening to burn vehicles relates to November 1.

Moorhouse, of Lovell Close, Shifnal, remains in custody.

Shropshire Star

A Belfast man who phoned a Muslim to say he was going to be killed in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist massacre has been jailed for four months.

Billy Dean, 50, was told he had committed an “appalling” offence by contacting the victim in England a day after the shootings at two mosques which claimed the lives of 51 people.

Dean, of Ebor Street in the city, was convicted of improper use of communications to cause anxiety.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he made the call on March 16 this year after obtaining the victim’s number on a Facebook page for a mosque in Birmingham.

Prosecutors said he phoned the man and stated: “You will die today you stupid Muslim, you will be killed.”

West Midlands Police were alerted and traced the number to Dean.

When officers went to the defendant’s home days later and made a call to that number his phone started to ring.

Dean was arrested and claimed he did not remember anything about the incident because he had been drinking, the court heard.

He told police that he had been agitated for the previous couple of weeks.

A Crown lawyer confirmed that the victim is attached to a mosque in Birmingham.

“This phone call was made the day after the incident in New Zealand; the injured party reported that they were concerned for their family,” she said.

On March 15 this year a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch in a rampage live-streamed on Facebook.

Another 49 people were wounded in the attacks.

Dean’s barrister stressed he was at home in Belfast when he made the call and had not attempted to conceal his own number.

“He accepts that he does have anger management problems and that if somebody doesn’t agree with his views he can, to put it bluntly, fly off the handle,” counsel said.

“He accepts that he made this phone call because of what he saw on television in New Zealand at the time.”

Highlighting the context of Dean’s actions, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: “The timing of it aggravates it even further from just the content, which is appalling in itself.

“There will be four months immediate custody.”

Dean was then released on bail pending an appeal against the prison term imposed.

Belfast Telegraph

A man has admitted he was responsible for racist graffiti at a Fulwood mosque.

Gavin Edghill, 47, of Lower Bank Road, Fulwood, pleaded guilty to five counts of racially aggravated criminal damage, one offence of racially aggravated public order and a further five counts of criminal damage.

Police launched an investigation after three separate reports of offensive and racist graffiti at Masjid E Salaam Mosque in Watling Street Road over the weekend.

Similar graffiti was found on an NHS sign nearby.

Edghill was arrested and appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday 23 April).

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in May.

Blog Preston

Steven Bishop, 41, had become fixated on the youngest victim of Manchester Arena attack

A violent racist with a history of mental health problems who admitted a terrorist offence and stockpiling equipment to bomb a mosque has been jailed for four years, one of the lowest sentences for someone plotting a potentially deadly attack.

Steven Bishop, 41, amassed commercial grade fireworks and other equipment as he formed the intention to build a homemade firebomb he would remotely detonate to attack the Morden mosque, in south London. He may serve just over another year in prison before his release on licence.

He claimed his plot was “revenge” for the Manchester arena bombing in 2017 in which 22 people died, but was stopped in October 2018 after a counsellor he saw for addictions reported Bishop to police after he told her of his plans.

Bishop had pleaded guilty earlier this week at Kingston crown court to two offences, one under the Explosive Substances Act 1883 and the other, having material useful for terrorism.

Concerns have been raised about the length of sentence, as British authorities try to show they take extremist rightwing violence as seriously as Islamist attacks.

Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, told the Guardian: “It is one of the lowest sentences for this kind of offence.

“I would expect the prosecution would consider appealing this sentence on the grounds that it is unduly lenient. I would be surprised if that was not the view of the Crown Prosecution Service.”

A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “There will be deep concern amongst many that this man was given a relatively light sentence even though he was poised to murder people.

“We learned from the case that Mr Bishop was driven by a hatred of Muslims. We hope we will be able to learn how the punishment fits this particularly serious crime.”

The Guardian understands the length of sentence also caused surprise among counter-terrorism investigators.

When detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command searched Bishop’s room in October 2018 they discovered fireworks as well as fuses, a remote control and igniter. He had also ordered a firing device.

He had placed virtual private network (VPN) apps on his phone to hide his online activity, which included researching explosive detonators and the target which was the Morden mosque.

Bishop, who had significant mental health problems, had stashed parts for making improvised incendiary devices at his mother’s home, hidden in a suitcase in the garden shed.

Bishop made notes detailing recipes and methods to make explosive substances.

The sentence was passed by Judge Lodder QC, who is experienced in similar cases.

In 2015 the same judge sentenced Trevor Mulindwa, an Islamist terrorist with mental health problems to six years for wanting to flee abroad. Mulwindwa, who had been treated in a mental health unit, had talked of being a suicide bomber, but had not bought bomb parts.

Sentencing Bishop, Lodder said: “The detonation of one or more of these fireworks at Morden mosque may have risked the lives of those nearby.”
“It is submitted that you are so far out of your depth that it is absurd and that the mosque was never truly in danger. In that context you are contrasted with a determined and dedicated terrorist. But terrorist acts are not limited to those who do not have similar vulnerabilities to you.”

He added: “The seriousness of the offending is reduced by your medical history, but I do not find that your condition at the time of offending was substantially reduced by mental disorder or learning disability.”

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds told the court: “Much as he never formed the final intent actually to carry out the act against the mosque at any particular point, he accepts that he carried out acts preparatory to it, and in contemplation of it.”

Bishop has had lifelong psychiatric disorders including paranoid schizophrenia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, a possible learning difficulty and also has experience of drug abuse. His 18 previous convictions include racially aggravated common assault.

Bishop’s barrister, Timothy Forte, denied his client’s action were fuelled by extremist rightwing beliefs. His web browsing history showed him viewing a pro-Brexit site and one instance of far-right material. Forte said he was moved by a victim of the Manchester attack, Saffie Roussos, aged 8: “It is only ever about Saffie. There is no expression of anti-Islamic feeling.”

“He’s not seeking to obtain a white Britain or a Muslim-free country. He was seeking in his non-functioning manner to exact revenge for the death of an eight-year-old girl and the crown can’t demonstrate an ideological cause.”

Bishop received benefits of around £1,200 a week and used the money to buy and consume drugs.

Bishop pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent, in breach of the Explosives Act. The charge he admitted said that Bishop had by “29 October 2018, unlawfully and maliciously made or had in his possession or under his control an explosive substance with intent by means thereof to endanger life, or cause serious injury to property”. He received four years imprisonment for that charge, and an additional one year on licence because the offence was connected to terrorism.

Bishop also admitted an offence under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He accepted he had “made a record of information of a kind likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. He received two years for that count, to run at the same time as the explosives offence.

The Guardian

An investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has led to the conviction of a man who was gathering together fireworks and other components to make an improvised incendiary device he was planning to use to target a mosque in south London.

Steven Bishop, 41 (28.11.77) of south London pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on 8 April to possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

He previously pleaded guilty to collection or making a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000. He is due to be sentenced on 10 April.

Bishop was arrested by Counter Terrorism detectives on Monday, 29 October 2018, at his address in south London. Officers attended the address after police were contacted by one of Bishop’s key workers when he showed her images of items he was collecting for the purpose, he said, to build ‘a bomb’, and told her that he was intending to target a mosque.

Commander Clarke Jarrett head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “From our investigation it was clear Bishop stockpiled a quantity of fireworks and other component parts with the intention of creating a device that he was intending to use to target a mosque. Thanks to the diligence of his key worker in alerting us we were able to intervene before he could progress with his plans any further and crucially, nobody came to any harm.

“This example shows that information we get from the public really can help to protect the public and save lives. If you have any information about suspicious or terrorist activity, then please ACT and call police on 0800 728 321.

“Given Bishop was focussed upon a mosque, and in light of recent events in New Zealand, we also know that Muslim and other faith communities may be feeling particularly concerned and vulnerable. Specialist officers continue to provide support and protective security advice to mosques, and indeed all places of worship across the UK on how to best keep their buildings and visitors safe.”

After the concerns over Bishop were raised to police, officers initially attended his address and Bishop claimed he was just planning to let fireworks off at his mother’s address in south-west London. However, further enquiries were carried out and on 29 October 2018 Bishop was arrested at his mother’s home address. When detectives searched his address, they found several fireworks – some of which had been tampered with, as well as other equipment associated with making homemade incendiary devices, including fuses and remote control and ignitor. A firing device was also delivered to Bishop’s address two days after his arrest.

Officers identified that Bishop had bought a smartphone on 18 October 2018. The first searches made on the phone were for instructions on how to access the ‘dark web’ and he carried out research on how to conduct covert internet searches.

Further analysis of his device showed Bishop visited sites and viewed videos about the Manchester, London Bridge and Paris terrorist attacks. Detectives found a comment Bishop had posted on 24 October 2018 in relation to a video on Facebook about the victims of the Manchester Arena attack which ended with him saying: “don’t worry something bad is going to happen soon mark my words”.

Two ‘VPN’ apps were downloaded on to the phone – the apps are designed to hide which internet sites and online information the user has been accessing. However, when they opened one of the apps, officers found a page was still open, which showed Bishop had been researching further details on explosives detonators. Bishop had also carried out a number of online searches for Morden mosque.

Police searched Bishop’s mother’s address where they found wrapping that matched the fireworks at his home address. In the garden shed, detectives found a red suitcase inside which they found component parts which could be combined to create an improvised incendiary device.

Furthermore, detectives also found a number of hand-written notes by Bishop with detailed information on how to make various explosive substances, as well as information on how to access the dark web. The notes were deemed to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

After questioning and whilst further enquiries were being carried out, Bishop was charged a week after his arrest on 5 November 2018 and subsequently pleaded guilty to the offences above.

Following the guilty plea, Bishop was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on Wednesday, 10 April at Kingston Crown Court.

Met Police

Steven Bishop changed his plea as his trial had been due to start

Steven Bishop changed his plea as his trial had been due to start


A man has admitted planning a bomb attack on a south London mosque.

Steven Bishop, 41, admitted buying fireworks and possessing instructions on how to make an explosive.

Bishop, of Thornton Heath, was believed to have been targeting Morden Mosque when his home was raided by police on 29 October last year.

He will be sentenced on Wednesday after changing his plea on the opening day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court.

He had originally been charged with preparing an act of terrorism, but prosecutors accepted a plea to a charge of possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or property on Monday.

Bishop previously pleaded guilty to possession of information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism, specifically a handwritten note on how to make explosives.

When he was arrested he told the police he wanted revenge for the death of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos who died in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

The court heard Bishop has a history of mental health problems and a number of psychiatric reports had been prepared ahead of his trial.

He was remanded in custody until Wednesday,

BBC News

A man has been sentenced after being found guilty of two counts of racially-aggravated criminal damage at a Hyson Green mosque.

Graham Marshall, 70, of Birkin Avenue, Hyson Green, initially pleaded not guilty in connection with two incidents at the Jamia Islamia Mosque in Hubert Street.

However, following a trial, the magistrates found him guilty of both counts.

Marshall, who was caught on CCTV spitting on the front door of the mosque on 16 and 22 December 2018, was given a one-year community order and was fined £200 when he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday 2 April 2019).

Speaking after his sentencing Inspector Riz Khan said: “Marshall showed a complete disregard for the faith and belief of others in these highly offensive incidents.

“Hate crime is unacceptable in any degree or form. The force takes any incidents of this nature incredibly seriously and they will not be tolerated.

“We will always thoroughly investigate reports and do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.

“We would always urge anyone who has been the victim of or a witness to hate crime to report it to us by calling 101.”

West Bridgford Wire