- The sex attacker known only as AB appealed an order for his deportation
- The illegal immigrant spent 16 years trying to avoid being sent to Morocco
- The man was deported in 2000 but managed to sneak back in to the UK
- He was able to challenge his latest deportation after five court attempts
A foreign sex attacker cannot be deported because of his right to a family life – even though his wife says he has left her and their children.
The 52-year-old illegal immigrant, who has cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds, has run rings around the Home Office as he has evaded attempts to boot him out of Britain for 16 years.
The Moroccan, who can only be identified as AB, was last night accused of making a mockery of the immigration system, with critics branding a judge’s decision to let him stay in the country ‘idiotic’ and ‘flying completely in the face of common sense’.
A deportation order was issued in 1999 and he was deported in June 2000 after serving four years in prison.
However, in a move branded ‘inexplicable’ by a judge, border guards allowed him back in on Christmas Day that year.
AB subsequently had two children, aged ten and nine, with an English citizen identified only as Ms S, who he married in 2009.
Now, after four unsuccessful legal challenges between 2006 and 2012, he has thwarted Theresa May’s latest bid to remove him – successfully arguing it would violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to family life.
In October last year immigration Judge Jeremy Rintoul ruled the Home Secretary acted ‘unlawfully’ by failing to give sufficient weight to the ‘harm’ his removal could cause the children and quashed the deportation order.
However, the illegal immigrant’s wife told the Mail that AB had not lived at the family home in Luton since January.
She said: ‘He’s been gone for a good few months since the beginning of this year and he doesn’t live here anymore.
‘He went of his own accord and we haven’t seen him for a while. I’ve not heard from him either.’
In total, AB’s case is estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money in detention, legal challenges and paperwork.
Last night critics were outraged. Conservative MP Philip Davies said: ‘This sums up everything that is wrong about our immigration system and how lax our border controls are.
‘It is scandalous that a foreign criminal can play the system after committing such a serious offence.
This is why it is so important that we get rid of the Human Rights Act. This judge’s idiotic decision has given a green light to criminal illegal immigrants to wander into the country, shack up with someone, have a couple of kids and stay here.’
MigrationWatch vice-chairman Alp Mehmet said: ‘This is yet another case that most ordinary people will find bewildering. They would see the Home Secretary’s decision as perfectly reasonable and the judge’s as flying completely in the face of common sense.’
In AB’s successful challenge, launched in October 2013, he argued that so much time had elapsed since his last tribunal that his family ties had ‘strengthened’ – and that citing his past criminal and immigration history was ‘no longer reasonable or proportionate’.
Independent social worker Peter Horrocks said AB’s deportation would be ‘traumatic and devastating’ for the children and Ms S, whose mental health problems meant she would struggle to care for them without him.
However, Mrs May argued that it was AB’s ‘criminality’ that meant he would be separated from his children. She insisted she had taken into account their best interests and concluded they were ‘outweighed by the applicant’s serious criminal conduct’.
A Home Office spokesman said it was continuing to fight AB’s case. She said: ‘Removing foreign national offenders is absolutely a priority for this Government.
The countless appeals and re-appeals lodged by criminals attempting to cheat the system cost us all money and are an affront to British justice.
‘We will continue to use “deport first, appeal later” powers to remove foreign criminals more quickly and put a stop to delaying tactics often employed by criminals desperate to thwart justice.’
Despite Ms S’s comments, neighbours previously confirmed AB appeared to be living at the pair’s council house and photographs were taken of him leaving and entering the property earlier this month.