For months, Pavlo Lapshyn, a 25-year-old doctoral student and right-wing extremist from Ukraine, terrorized the United Kingdom's West Midlands with a series of racially motivated attacks. This week, he pled guilty to his crimes.
In April, just days after first arriving in the U.K. from Ukraine, Lapshyn stabbed an innocent grandfather to death. Then, over the next few months, he planted at least three bombs with the intention of causing mass devastation.
Authorities say the young man, who was arrested in July, was motivated by a deep-seated racism and a desire to increase racial conflict in the region.
According to The Telegraph, Lapshyn admitted Monday to murdering 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem and planting bombs near three mosques in the West Midlands.
Saleem, a grandfather of 22, had reportedly been walking home after saying prayers at a mosque when Lapshyn stabbed him several times in the back. The older man, who walked with the help of a cane, was reportedly just steps away from home when he was killed.
Shazia Khan, Saleem's daughter, said that her father was "targeted simply because of his faith," per British tabloid The Mirror.
After the murder, Lapshyn began making bombs, The Guardian reports. In June and July, three of his homemade explosives were detonated in three different mosques in the West Midlands. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blasts.
Investigators say Lapshyn has admitted he was "intending to stir racial hatred" with his actions.
"He is an evil and ill-informed man, he was extremely dangerous," said Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale of the West Midlands' Counter-Terrorism Unit, according to the BBC. "His motivation was that the white man was better than anyone else."
Investigators say they found more bomb-making equipment in Lapshyn's home and believe the young man was planning many more attacks on innocent civilians. If he hadn't been caught, authorities say the attacks would've likely become more devastating -- and deadly.
"All three of the devices he detonated were powerful but his final attack in [the town of] Tipton was the first to feature shrapnel and nails," Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Edwards of the West Midlands Police told the BBC.
He added that it was sheer luck that prevented that third bomb from claiming any lives.
"He placed this near the mosque's car park with the intention of hitting worshippers as they arrived for prayers," he said. "Thankfully, the service had been put back an hour so the mosque was largely deserted when the bomb went off."
Lapshyn will be sentenced Friday.