13 January 2012

UK immigration authorities apologise over 'missed chance' to deport killer

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The UK Border Agency has apologised after failing to locate a failed asylum seeker who went on to murder his partner and two children before killing himself - despite being relocated by another branch of the same agency.

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Poor communication between separate branches of the UK Border Agency meant that the killer escaped deportation.

Aram Aziz, an Iraqi Kurd, murdered his partner Joy Small, 24 and their two children aged two and three before killing himself in February 2011.

Yet a UK immigration official confirmed that they had been searching for Aziz with the intention of deporting him for over a year, without knowing that another branch had moved him to Leicester. The Border Agency has admitted that if the two departments had corresponded with each other correctly and realised they were dealing with the same man they would have been able to deport him to Slovenia, where he had first applied for asylum.

Aziz left Iraq in February 2005 and was first denied asylum under the name Saman Ali Rahim after it being discovered that he had already applied for asylum in Slovenia.

After absconding, he then made another application for asylum under his real name; he was moved to Leicester while the application was considered.

He was then denied asylum again but was granted a three year stay of deportation due to his relationship with Ms Small which allowed him protection as a partner of a UK national.

A report by the Leicester Safeguarding Children Board revealed that while the eventual tragedy could not have been predicted but that "the only preventative factor" would have been if Aziz had been deported.

UK Border Agency Regional Director Gail Adams said the agency had attempted to deport Aziz three times but twice "arrangements were made to detain Mr Aziz but he absconded. We recognise that mistakes internally hindered his removal on the third occasion and for this we apologise".

Ms Adams confirmed that the agency had since updated its working processes and concluded by saying "our deepest sympathies are with the family".

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent UK immigration consultancy specialising in helping people apply for a UK visa.

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