Ukrainian man murdered Muslim, planted mosque bombs in Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - A self-confessed racist Ukrainian student studying in Britain pleaded guilty on Monday to murdering an elderly Muslim man and planting explosive devices outside mosques in central England as part of a one-man hate campaign.

Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, arrived in Britain in April to study and work in Birmingham but within days he stabbed to death 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem as he walked home from a mosque.

Weeks later he planted bombs which exploded near mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton in the west Midlands. No one was injured in the blasts.

Police said on Monday that chemicals and bomb-making equipment were found at Lapshyn's home following his arrest in July, suggesting further attacks would have followed.

"He wanted to stir up racial tension, racial hatred," said Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards of West Midlands police.

"He said he murdered (Saleem) because he wasn't white."

Attacks on British Muslims and Islamic institutions have risen following the murder of a British soldier on the street in Woolwich, south London, in May, which prompted demonstrations organized by far-right and anti-Islamic groups.

Lapshyn will be sentenced at the Old Bailey court on Friday.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alistair Lyon)