Jamaica deportation flight departs with killers on board as rapist wins last minute reprieve

Martin Bentham
·3-min read
<p>Priti Patel </p>

Priti Patel

Thirteen Jamaican criminals, including four killers and two sex offenders, were deported today on a controversial Home Office flight opposed by Labour MPs and celebrities.

Those flown out of Britain also included a man convicted of possessing of a firearm and aggravated burglary and three jailed for supplying drugs.

But a significant number of other offenders - including a rapist whose case was highlighted by Home Secretary Priti Patel in a letter to MPs – were removed from the flight at the last minute after legal appeals.

Some are understood to have claimed to have been victims of modern slavery coerced into offending.

But the Home Office’s immigration minister Chris Philp insisted that efforts to send them to Jamaica would continue as he hit out over the use of last-ditch appeals as he welcomed the government’s success in deporting “13 serious foreign criminals” from Britain.

“It is disappointing that specialist immigration law firms continued to use last minute tactics to remove a significant number of offenders from this flight,” he said.

“These individuals had every opportunity to raise the claims in the days and weeks leading up to the flight. However a significant number of claims were not submitted until hours before the flight was due to leave – meaning murderers and rapists have been able to stay in the UK.

Watch: UK rights activists in bid to stop deportations to Jamaica

“Those we are attempting to remove have committed crimes which have a devastating impact on victims and their families.

“We will be working through these cases as quickly as possible. I remain committed to removing foreign criminals and anyone without a legal basis to be here.”

Home Office officials said the 13 offenders deported today had been given sentences totalling more than 100 years and included three convicted of murder and another jailed for manslaughter.

Two others had convictions for sexual activity with a girl aged under 16 and another was given a six year sentence for GBH. Four more were drug offenders, while another had convictions for robbery and theft.

But a rapist whose case was cited in a letter by the Home Secretary to Labour opponents of the deportation was removed from the flight after mounting a legal challenge.

Ms Patel’s letter had described how during his trial his victim had “issued a heart-breaking statement to the court where she talked of the pain and suffering” the crime had caused her. Others understood to have been removed included a London murderer.

The deportation flight had been opposed by a number of London Labour MPs, including Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, and Abena Oppong-Asare, the MP for Erith and Thamesmead.

Celebrities including the model Naomi Campbell and the actress Thandie Newton, as well as the historian David Olusaga and author Bernadine Evaristo, had also sought to stop the flight with a letter to airlines calling on them not to carry out the contract on the grounds that the deportation was “wholly inappropriate” in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

The Home Office has responded that deportations to Jamaica are only a fraction of those to EU countries and that none of those on today’s flight – or due to be on it – were born in the UK or came here when aged under 12.

It has also pointed out that the legislation used to deport the offenders was passed in 2007 after being introduced to Parliament by the then Labour government.

Watch: How England's new three-tier COVID system will work

Read More

Fix this injustice, Windrush campaigners urge after damning report

Migrant crossings to be curbed as UK agrees new Channel clampdown

PM faces claims he tried to ‘water down’ Priti Patel bullying report