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Man facing terror murder charge

A 25-year-old Ukrainian man is due in court charged with the terror-related murder of an 82-year-old grandfather as he walked home from a mosque.

Pavlo Lapshyn, a postgraduate student from Dnipropetrovsk, is accused of killing Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham in April. He will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Lapshyn was initially arrested last week by officers carrying out a counter-terrorism investigation into three separate explosions near mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton, and is still being questioned in connection with that inquiry.

The student, in the UK on a sponsored work placement at a software firm based in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, was later arrested on suspicion of Mr Saleem's murder.

The pensioner was fatally stabbed just yards from his house as he walked home alone after worship, on April 29, prompting an outpouring of grief from the community where he lived.

West Midlands Police said they did not believe there was any "ongoing threat from this case" but that officers were working with the Ukrainian authorities to look into Lapshyn's past.

Investigators from the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit were flying to the country in the next few days to continue their inquiries.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: "We are still working hard to uncover all the facts and urge anyone who thinks they have information that may assist us to call 101. We understand that these incidents have caused a great deal of anxiety and distress within local communities and I want to thank them for the way they have dealt with the developments and the assistance they have given my officers.

"For the family who lost a beloved grandfather, it has been a particularly difficult time and we will continue to support them."

Louise Gray, a lawyer in the Crown Prosecution Service counter-terrorism division, said: "Following an investigation by West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, I have been considering the evidence gathered from the inquiry into the murder of Mohammed Saleem. I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Pavlo Lapshyn with one count of murder. This decision was taken in accordance with the code for Crown prosecutors. Pavlo Lapshyn now stands charged with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing should now be reported that could prejudice that trial."

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