Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 1989-2010
December 7, 2006 — News
Written by Harmit Athwal
IRR has, since 1989, been recording the deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants – two of the most vulnerable sections of our society – as a result of attempting to enter the UK, self-harm, denial of medical treatment, destitution, hazardous working conditions or racist attacks.
Forced by circumstances beyond their control to seek a life outside their home countries, prevented by our laws from entering legally and from working, denied a fair hearing by the asylum system, excluded from health and safety protection at work, kept from social care and welfare, unhoused and destitute, vilified by the media and therefore dehumanised in the popular imagination, their hopes of another life are finally extinguished.
Igor Litvinenko, (21), 06/89
A Russian man was found dead in the undercarriage of a plane arriving from Moscow at Gatwick airport. A post mortem found that he died from a lack of oxygen at high altitude.
Ø § Siho Iyugiven, (27), 5/10/89
A Kurdish refugee died from burns at Harmondsworth detention centre. He had been detained pending his removal after political asylum was refused. He and his cell-mate went on hunger strike, barricaded themselves in and set bedding alight as a protest. Smoke detectors were not working, few fire extinguishers worked and there were no sprinklers. An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
Ø Kimpua Nsimba, (24), 15/6/90
A Zairean asylum seeker was found hanged in Harmondsworth detention centre in west London; where no one had spoken to him in over four days. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict.
§ Omasase Lumumba, (32), 8/10/91
The nephew of Patrice Lumumba, he was a Zairean asylum seeker who had undergone torture. Arrested in strange circumstances, detained under the Immigration Act and held for five days in a police station, he was then transferred to Pentonville prison while awaiting a decision on his asylum claim. He died of a heart attack after being restrained by six prison officers in Pentonville prison. An inquest found that he was ‘unlawfully killed using improper methods and excessive force in the process of control and restraint’.
# Panchadcharam Sahitharan, (28), 3/1/92
A Tamil refugee died in a gang attack in Newham, east London. Andrew Noble and Gary Hoskin were charged with murder and affray. The charges were later dropped against Noble and Hoskin was acquitted. The gang were thought to be responsible for attacks with baseball bats on seven Asians on one day.
# Ruhullah Aramesh, (24), 7/92
An Afghan refugee attacked by a gang in Thornton Heath, south London. Barry Hannon, Paul Hannon and Joseph Curtain were given life sentences for murder. One other was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and three others were acquitted. Curtain was freed on appeal after serving three years.
§ James Segawa, (28), 28/8/92
An HIV positive Ugandan asylum seeker died of meningitis and tuberculosis at Mayday hospital, Croydon, after belated transfer from Belmarsh prison where officials had refused to believe he was ill.
Ø Turan Pekoz, (43), 16/3/93
A Turkish asylum seeker died after setting himself on fire at Quest House Immigration Office, Croydon. An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
# Saied Ahmed, (68), 14/4/93
A Somali refugee died from burns after an arson attack on his home in Oxford. Eleven other family members escaped.
# Ali Ibrahim, (21), 7/11/93
A Sudanese refugee was stabbed to death while he and two friends walked along Little Preston Street in Brighton. A man drinking a can of lager approached the group, then shouted racial abuse and stabbed Ali in the heart. Ian Leanay was sentenced to life for murder. A second man was acquitted after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
Ø § Joy Gardner, (40), 1/8/93
A Jamaican mother of one died after being arrested by ‘specialist’ officers from the Extradition Unit of the Met who used 13 feet of tape to gag her. The inquest was adjourned till the trial of the officers involved. They have been acquitted but no inquest has yet been held.
Ø Lejla Ibrahimovic, 1994
A Bosnian asylum seeker took an overdose of sleeping pills after a year-long struggle for her husband to be granted a visa to join her. The Home Office granted her husband a compassionate visa after her death to look after the couple’s two children.
Four Romanian stowaways, 1/94
Four stowaways suffocated to death in a container in Felixstowe.
Ø Kwanele Siziba, (27), 27/4/94
A Zimbabwean woman fell 150 feet to her death, attempting to flee visiting officials she believed were immigration officers. In fact, it was bailiffs who called at the flat and were heard threatening to kick the door down. The inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
Ø Joseph Nnalue, (31), 23/10/94
A Nigerian died after falling from a balcony in a flat in Stockwell – police and immigration officials were calling at his flat at the time, acting on a tip-off. An inquest ruled that the death was accidental.
Ø Zinaida Mitzofanova, (63) and Valentina Featherstone, (39), 2/95
A Latvian mother and daughter were found hanged in County Durham before they were due to appeal against a deportation order.
Ø Muttavel Vasanthan, (25), 25/8/95
A Sri Lankan immigration detainee was found hanged in a cell in Norwich prison. An inquest verdict recorded a suicide verdict.
Ø Bayeh Arefayne, (19), 22/10/95
A young Ethiopian man due to be deported, set fire to himself in a west London petrol station. He suffered 70 per cent burns to his body and died six days later.
Ø Djemal Flissa, (29), 28/10/95
An Algerian asylum seeker was deported by air ambulance, after spending 44 days on hunger strike. He was flown, allegedly tied to a stretcher, back to Algeria where he reportedly died.
Unidentified person, 8/11/95
Died falling from a ferry in Harwich after asylum was refused.
Ø Noorjahan Begum, (35), 15/3/96
A Bangladeshi woman died after falling 30 feet from the balcony of the flat where she was living; two immigration officials were calling at the flat at the time. The inquest recorded an accidental death verdict.
Ø Mohammed Yaqoob, (49), 8/96
A Pakistani man, wishing to travel to the UK for medical treatment, was denied a visa for seven months, despite his family raising the necessary funds for a private operation. He died less than 48 hours after being granted a visa on compassionate grounds.
Vijay Saini, (19), 10/96
An Indian died after freezing to death stowing away with his brother in a plane. Vijay fell from the wheel housing of the British Airways plane flying from Delhi into London Heathrow. His brother Pardeep, 23, miraculously survived the same journey and was found by baggage-handlers at Heathrow airport suffering from hypothermia. His application for political asylum was turned down on the basis of an interview held less than 24 hours after he arrived at Heathrow. He was later given compassionate leave to remain in the UK.
Unidentified African boy, (12), 23/3/97
Crushed to death after stowing away in the wheel arch of a Boeing 747 travelling from Kenya to London. His body was found at Gatwick airport.
Unidentified man, 8/2/98
Died after freezing to death in the undercarriage of a British Airways plane flying from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Gatwick airport.
Ø § Sofonias Alemsged, (22), 7/98
An Eritrean asylum seeker with psychological problems was found hanged in a Brixton prison cell; he had made previous attempt to take his own life. He died a few weeks before his appeal on his asylum claim was due to be held. An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
Unidentified person, 8/98
A couple drinking in a pub in Richmond reported seeing a body tumble from a plane flying overhead (also near to where Mohammed Ayaz was found in June 2001). Police searched the local area but no body was found although police thought it possible the body fell in a reservoir.
Ø Mehretab Kidane, (28), 10/98
An Eritrean asylum seeker was so afraid of losing his asylum appeal that he hanged himself at his flat in Brixton on the final day of his appeal hearing in London. An inquest was told that he had arrived in the UK in 1995 and was granted temporary admission but was later refused refugee status. The coroner found that he took his own life.
# Farhan M Mire, (32), 12/98
A Somali asylum seeker kicked to death in the street by a white man after an argument with a woman who then shouted for help in Harrow, north London. A man was charged with murder in March 1999, but later released after the CPS decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. The CPS had questioned whether there was racial motivation in the case.
Ø § Lin Yan-Guang, (35), 12/98
A Chinese asylum seeker committed suicide in Warley hospital, Brentwood, Essex. He had been suffering from depression and was admitted to the hospital in September 1998 for assessment. At the time of his death he was under special observation. He had told a friend he was worried about the money his family in China had borrowed to send him to the UK.
Unidentified man, 1/99
An Iraqi Kurdish man died attempting to smuggle himself to Dover clinging to the underside of a lorry. As it passed over ramps, he lost his grip and was crushed under its wheels.
Unidentified man, 12/10/99
A stowaway died after being electrocuted trying to exit a freight train in a goods yard in Wembley. The man in his twenties is thought to have sewn himself into a canvas sided wagon in Milan which then travelled to the UK.
# Zardasht Draey, (19), 12/99
A Kurdish man, who fled Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war, was attacked in the early hours of the morning and found with serious injuries at a bus-stop in Fulham, west London. He died in hospital two days later as a result of serious head injuries. In June 2000, Christopher Peterkin was convicted of his murder.
Ø § Robertas Grabys, (49), 24/1/00
A Lithuanian asylum seeker was found hanged in Harmondsworth detention centre on the day he was due to be deported. A report into his death criticised the private company that was in charge of Harmondsworth at the time (Burns International). In April 2003, an internal Home Office inquiry found that the company running the centre did not have a formal policy to prevent suicides and that there was insufficient care. (His body was not found for over one hour as guards did not check the room. But he was known to suffer from a depressive illness.) An inquest recorded an open verdict.
Unidentified woman, 9/4/00
An unidentified woman died after falling under the wheels of a lorry in St Leonard’s, Essex and later died in hospital. Four other stowaways on the lorry were arrested.
Ø Glynnis Cowley, (40), 4/00
A South African mother of three committed suicide in Liverpool after her asylum claim was refused. She had been arrested at Heathrow in June 1999 after being found in possession of cannabis and sentenced to eight months. She alleged that she had been kidnapped, raped and tortured in South Africa and then forced to act as a drugs courier. While in Holloway prison, her asylum claim was refused and, after her release, she launched an appeal but took her life before a decision was reached.
58 people including 54 Chinese men – Yang Jiao Hua, Li Yong, Lin Zhao Hang, Lin Chen Xing, Sun Dao Xian, Cheng Kam Kwon, Lin Li Guang, Kuo Chien Ming, Xue You Jie, Cai Fang Quing, Ni Yan Hua, Lin Yi Hua, Gao Jun Wei, Zheng Bo Ying, Lin Guo Liang, Cao Xiang Ping, Chen Xing Zhong, He Chang Ming, Xue Di Di, Cao Xian Xin, Jiang Jan Ming, Ling Ming Gui, Jiang Bin, Lin De Bin, Chen Yi Hua, Li Zheng Guang, Ling Ming Kun, He Yu Yuan, Lin Tong Hui, Lin Tong Yong, Ke Yong Min, Ye Qi Ban, Dong Ti Di, Li Xaio Xiang, Lin Bin, Weng Rui Ping, Lin Fa Ming, Lin Bing, Lin Ming Hui, Lin Bin Jian, He Hua Shun, Yang Xin Xiaun, Lin Feng Di, Yao Zhong Ai, He Ming Qiang, Lin Xian Long, Chen Jin Tian, Lin Xin Chai, Shi Wen Jie, Ding Xiang You, You Long Zhong, Lin Xue Luan, Li Zhen Quan, Guo Ting Xing and 4 Chinese women – Lin Rul Zhen, Gao Yue Ru, Lin Guang, Ke Mei Zhu, 18/6/00
58 Chinese stowaways (from the Fujian province) were found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Dover. Two survivors of the journey, who were found unconscious, were taken to hospital suffering from shock and dehydration. The stowaways died after the air vents on the lorry were closed as it was loaded onto a Dover bound ferry at Zeebrugge. In March 2001, the trial began of the Dutch lorry driver, 32-year-old Perry Wacker, who was accused of 58 counts of manslaughter and people smuggling; 29- year-old Ying Guo was also accused of conspiracy to smuggle people. Perry Wacker was found guilty and jailed for 14 years. Ying Guo was also found guilty and sentenced to six years. In May 2001, seven men in Holland were convicted of charges in relation to the deaths of the 58; two other men were acquitted. On 31 July 2002, Perry Wacker lost his appeal against the manslaughter convictions.
# Abdi Dorre, (31), 8/00
A Somali refugee died in hospital after being found with serious head injuries at the bottom of stairs at the Lounge night-club, Northampton. Hospital staff alerted the local police, but they did not bother to investigate thoroughly, assuming that Abdi’s death was an accident. It was only after the family pressured the police that arrests were made but, even then, the suspects were later released without charge. At the inquest in May 2001, without a jury, the coroner recorded an open verdict. The family launched a campaign to seek a proper investigation of the death and, in August 2002, two men were charged with his manslaughter. The CPS originally claimed there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against anyone.
Unidentified man, (20s), 17/11/00
A man’s body was found at Eastern docks in Dover; it was thought that he had been run over by the lorry he was hiding in.
Ø Saeed Alaei, (26), 21/12/00
An Iranian asylum seeker, dispersed to Nelson, Lancashire, was found hanged after his asylum claim was rejected.
# Gian Singh Nagra, (37), 7/1/01
An asylum seeker was found with serious head injuries after a suspected racial attack at Elm Park tube station and later died in Old Church hospital, east London. The trial of his assailant in August 2001 heard that, on 7 January, a 14-year-old girl phoned 20-year-old Matthew Dorrian alleging that ‘an evil looking Asian’ had been behaving strangely and leering at her and her friends at Elm Park tube station. Despite there being no evidence of any indecency, Dorrian went down to the station, armed with a golf club and hit Gian with it across the face. Gian was found with massive head injuries and later died from blood loss. The Old Bailey jury were unable to reach a verdict on the charge of murder, but Dorrian admitted manslaughter.
Ø Shokrolah ‘Ramin’ Khaleghi, (27), 18/1/01
An Iranian asylum seeker, dispersed to Leicester, was found dead in the International Hotel, a hostel for asylum seekers, after his asylum claim was rejected. He had been a political prisoner in Iran, jailed for six years and tortured for refusing to serve in the Iranian army and affronting fundamentalist beliefs by shaving his facial hair. He took a drugs overdose one week after learning that his asylum claim had been rejected.
Unidentified Iraqi man, (30s), 1/2/01
A man died attempting to jump 20 feet from a bridge on to a moving train heading for the UK through the Channel Tunnel. Another man survived the same jump but broke both legs; both men missed the train but were then hit by it.
Tommy Klen Mayola, (19), 20/2/01
An asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who had waited over two years for a decision, was found dead in the undercarriage of a US Airways plane in San Francisco. Police at Gatwick had arrested him earlier the same day as he attempted to gain access to another plane. He had been photographed, fingerprinted and then released on bail.
• Ionut Simionica, (22), 27/2/01
A Romanian migrant worker died when part of St Mary’s church, Marylebone, on which he was working, crushed him. The HSE investigated the incident and prosecuted two firms and an engineer under health and safety legislation. In February 2005, Southwark Crown Court heard that a structural engineer failed to address underpinning problems after rotten wood in foundations of the church was discovered. They were found guilty and fined £95,000 and £60,000 costs.
# Fetah Marku, (24), 24/3/01
A Kosovan asylum seeker was beaten and stabbed to death by a gang of men in Edgware, London. Fetah had been visiting from Hull and was celebrating his birthday with friends at the Oscar Wilde pub. A post mortem gave the cause of death as multiple injuries that included 29 stab wounds, a punctured lung, a fractured skull and internal bleeding. In June 2002, an Old Bailey jury found 33-yearold Richard Ellis guilty of Fetah’s murder. Ellis, who worked as a music promoter at the pub, claimed not to have known anyone else who took part in the attack on Fetah but the jury found that Ellis had ‘provided encouragement’ to the mob. After the conviction, the judge commented that it was unlikely that Ellis (a black man) was ‘solely responsible’.
Mohammed Ayaz, (21), 14/6/01
A Pakistani man was found in a Richmond car park after dropping from the wheel arch of a British Airways plane flying from Bahrain to Heathrow. Two passengers on the flight saw Mohammed running across the runway and under the plane just before it took off and told crew but the flight takeoff could not be aborted. Mohammed was originally from Pakistan but was working in Bahrain as a labourer. An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
# Firsat Dag, (22), 5/8/01
A Kurdish asylum seeker, dispersed to the notorious Sighthill estate in Glasgow, was stabbed to death in a racist attack. Scott Burrell, 26, was charged with Firsat’s murder and accused of attempting to murder a German tourist on the same day. In December 2001, Burrell was sentenced to serve a minimum of 14 years for a ‘shameful, cowardly and unprovoked attack’. In August 2003, the compensation awarded to Firsat’s family was halved because Firsat allegedly used a false name on his asylum application.
Unidentified Kosovan man, (20s), 20/8/01
A Kosovan died after jumping into the sea while being deported. He had been found with another man on a ferry travelling from Ostend to Dover. After telling crew they intended to claim asylum once they reached the UK, they were detained on board and not allowed to leave the ferry. They were to be taken to Calais to be disembarked when one broke free from security guards and jumped into the sea, two miles from Dover. He was found after 20 minutes and attempts were made to resuscitate him but, on arrival at hospital, he was pronounced dead.
Ø Nasser Ahmed, (35), 21/8/01
An Eritrean asylum seeker was found hanged at his flat in Nelson, Lancashire, shortly after his asylum claim was rejected. A worker who helped Mr Ahmed at a drop-in centre for asylum seekers said, ‘We do know that he had received a letter from the Home Office… there are hints that that was what pushed him over the edge.’
• Zhang Guo Hua, 10/01
A Chinese migrant worker died after working all weekend at a factory in Hartlepool. He worked at stamping the ‘Samsung’ logo on microwaves for 72 hours a week at a factory with up to 80 other Chinese men. The men often worked 100-hour weeks and for over 24 hours at a time. A post mortem found that he died from a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Omid Jamil Ali, (21), 18/10/01
An Iraqi, hoping to enter the UK through the Channel Tunnel, leapt onto a moving train from a bridge in France. In the fall he injured himself severely. But the train reportedly did not stop till it arrived in England. Only then was Omid retrieved and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His body remained in a morgue till September 2004, when campaigners raised the £3,100 needed to send Omid’s body back to Iraq to be buried by his family.
Ø Joseph Crentsil, (39), 25/11/01
A Ghanaian asylum seeker died after falling from a third floor window of a flat in Streatham when two immigration and two police officers were questioning five other men at the flat. An inquest recorded an accidental death verdict. (Read IRR News article: ‘Accidental death’ during immigration raid, says inquest jury)
Ø Chijioke Ekengwu (aka John Paul), (9), 20/12/01
A Nigerian boy, suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, died the day before he was due to fly to the UK for treatment. Celine Ekengwu, the young boy’s aunt, had saved £13,000 to pay for it. She won an appeal on 23 October 2001 against a decision refusing John Paul a visa to travel to the UK for treatment. The Foreign Office began an investigation into why it had taken the High Commission in Lagos, Nigeria, two months, after the decision, to issue a visa.
Unidentified man, 1/02
Died after being electrocuted on top of a train in the Channel Tunnel heading for the UK.
Ø Souleyman Diallo, (28), 1/1/02
A Guinean asylum seeker committed suicide by jumping 100 feet off Redheugh Bridge, Tyneside, a few weeks after being told he was to be deported back to Guinea. Souleyman, who spoke little English, was dispersed to Gateshead soon after he arrived in July 2000 and was not provided with any translation services. He felt that the interpreter at his appeal hearing had misinterpreted him. His solicitor commented that his ‘inability to access competent legal advice, difficulties in communicating his case and tight deadlines for submission of statements have contributed to his case not being properly heard’. She made a complaint to the Immigration Commissioners about his death. The coroner recorded an open verdict.
Ø Abdul Hashi Mohamed, (30), 15/2/02
A Somali asylum seeker was found dead at his flat in the Kensington area of Liverpool. His landlord found him in his bedroom with his feet near a bucket of water and his hand next to exposed wires. Vodka and paracetamol were also found in his system. Abdul had moved to Liverpool from Northampton just two months prior to his death. An inquest in April 2002 found that he had died from electrocution and recorded an open verdict.
Unidentified man, 18/2/02
Died after falling from a train in the Channel Tunnel heading for the UK. Maintenance workers discovered his body 14 miles into the tunnel.
Unidentified person, 20/2/02
Five stowaways attempted to board a freight train as it entered the Channel Tunnel. One was hit by a hydraulic ram and crushed to death.
Ø § Nariman Tahamasbi, (27), 25/2/02
An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged in Lewes prison. He had been refused asylum in the UK and fearful of being deported back to Iran, he attempted to flee to Canada using the same forged travel documents that had brought him to the UK. He was arrested at Gatwick airport, charged over false documents and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Less than a week after arriving in the prison, he hanged himself from the bars of his cell with a bed-sheet and died in hospital five days later without regaining consciousness. A jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure following a three-day inquest into the death in May 2005. (Read IRR News story: Asylum death deemed misadventure)
Ø Mohsen Amri, (27), 12/3/02
An Iranian asylum seeker committed suicide at his home in Handsworth, Birmingham, after having a work permit refused and asylum application rejected. He had been in the UK for two years and made repeated requests for work permits (he did not want to work illegally). His asylum application had been refused on a technicality.
Unidentified man, 14/4/02
Believed to be African, he was found dead in the undercarriage of a freight plane at Heathrow airport. The plane had flown from Uganda via Cairo and Ostend in Belgium to Heathrow.
Ø Shiraz Pir, (25), 7/5/02
A Pakistani asylum seeker died five days after being found hanged in his Bristol home after his asylum claim was rejected. Facing deportation, he could not understand why friends had been given refugee status and he had been denied. He left a note asking that his body be returned to his parents. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide whilst the balance of his mind was temporarily disturbed. The coroner criticised the Home Office for the delay with his asylum application.
Ø Forsina Makoni, (79), 11/5/02
An elderly Zimbabwean woman died after setting herself alight in Gillingham after her claim for political asylum was refused. She had been a vocal opponent of Robert Mugabe’s regime and became depressed in the weeks before her death after her claim was refused.
Unidentified man, (30s), 16/5/02
Believed to be west African, he was found dead in the wheelarch of a British Airways flight from Ghana.
Unidentified Russian man, 12/6/02
Trying to cross the Channel from France, he went missing after his canoe capsized. Another man clung to the canoe for over five hours before being rescued and taken to hospital in Calais suffering from hypothermia.
• Esther Nagy, (20), 17/7/02
A Hungarian migrant worker died from injuries sustained after a forklift truck overturned at Bury Farm in Melbourn Cambridgeshire. In September 2004, E.W. Pepper Ltd was fined £20,000 for its failure to use trained staff to drive forklift trucks.
# Peiman Bahmani, (28), 29/8/02
An Iranian asylum seeker died after being stabbed in a racist attack in Hendon, Sunderland. Peiman shared a home with four other Iranians and police alleged there was a confrontation outside the house with a group of white people. Peiman, whose asylum claim had not yet been decided, worked as the manager at Leonardo’s Italian restaurant in Sunderland, owned by his girlfriend, Sonia Voza. In February 2003, 18-year-old Steven Roberts was jailed for life for his murder.
Ø Sophia Kamau, 10/02
An asylum seeker from Kenya was found hanged in a house in Bamfurlong, Wigan. Wigan Today reported that she had told friends she has fled to the UK after catching criminals laundering money at the bank where she worked in Kenya. Her asylum claim had been refused but she was appealing the decision when she was found dead.
# Mustafa Ally Abdillahi, (31), 10/02
A Somali refugee was found with serious head injuries in a hostel for the homeless in Luton. In May 2003, 36-year-old Neal Bond, who also lived in the hostel, was convicted of his murder. Bond, who denied the charges, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mustafa was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher and Bond’s footprints were found on his sweatshirt. The motivation behind the attack was not revealed in court. Bond claimed not to remember what happened, despite being found in his room, his hands, clothing and duvet all covered with Mustafa’s blood.
Ø § Beverley Fowler, (32), 2/10/02
A Jamaican woman was found hanged two days before the end of her sentence, in Durham prison. She was a mother of three who was due to be deported back to Jamaica after serving a sentence for drug smuggling. In September 2003, an inquest recorded an open verdict. The inquest was told she feared for her safety in Kingston because the man who forced her into drug smuggling had murdered her partner.
• Adam Borowik, (27) and Sebastian Skorupski, (21), 19/10/02
Polish migrant workers died after becoming entangled in a motorised rope-reeling machine. An inquest, in July 2003, recorded a verdict of accidental death; the HSE investigated and a HSE safety inspector described the accident as the worst he had seen in thirty years.
Immanuel Duah and another young boy, 30/11/02
Aged about 12-14 years-old, the boys were found dead in the wheel compartment of a Ghana Airways flight from Accra to Heathrow airport. A ground engineer found them huddled together.
Ø Christelle Nyamugabo, (13), 12/12/02
An asylum seeker from the DRC was found at home in south London having taken an overdose. She had travelled to the UK with her family who were still waiting the outcome of their asylum claim when Christelle died. In February 2003, a coroner recorded an open verdict after hearing that it was neither possible to find where she had obtained the prescription drug she took nor any evidence of third party involvement.
Ø Sirous Khajeh, (29), 24/12/02
An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged at his home in Huddersfield. He was a torture victim who had been told that his asylum claim had been rejected and he faced eviction from his home and deportation. However, this information was incorrect and Sirous had in fact been granted asylum. A Yorkshire coroner recorded a verdict of suicide and was critical of the Home Office’s handling of his application.
Ø § Mikhail Bognarchuk, (42), 31/1/03
An Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged at Haslar removal centre. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict. (Read IRR News article: Haslar – a place of no return)
# Mohammed Isa Hasan Ali, (22), 9/2/03
An Afghan asylum seeker died two days after being attacked by a man in Southampton. His 17-stone assailant shoved him in the chest because he seemed to be laughing at him and he fell to the ground ‘like a ton of bricks’. Because he had his hands in his pockets he was unable to break his fall. He lay unconscious on the ground for a while and was assisted by passing nurses. Police were called to the scene and after speaking to both men let them leave. Mohammed suffering from a fractured skull and bleeding went home where he told his housemates that he had been attacked and then went to bed with a headache, not realising the extent of his injuries. He was later taken to Southampton General hospital where he died. A post mortem found that he died from a fractured skull. Alexander Briant, 21, was convicted of manslaughter. (Read IRR News article: Afghan asylum seeker killed in Southampton )
Ø Nadim Hussaini, (18), 2/5/03
An asylum seeker from Afghanistan died two days after suffering serious injuries after falling from a bridge over the M60 motorway at Stockport. (He survived for two days in hospital after suffering serious head injuries.) The Manchester Evening News reported that just days before his death his asylum application had been refused.
Ø § Liu Jin Wu, (35), 5/5/03
A Chinese asylum seeker took his own life while on remand at HMP Barlinnie in Scotland. It emerged during a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) that he was a Mandarin speaker who only had access to an interpreter three times during his ten weeks in the prison. He was on remand for two counts of attempted murder and during police interviews had told them that he was hearing voices; a provisional diagnosis of paranoid psychosis was made. He had been told he faced deportation regardless of what happened during the criminal proceedings as his asylum claim had been refused. The Inquiry was also told that he did not receive appropriate food as staff were unable to understand what he wanted. Staff also failed to check on him hourly as was required when he was found to be suicidal. But the FAI concluded that his suicide was due to mental health problems rather than any failure by the prison authorities.
§ Olga Blaskevica, (29), 7/5/03
A Latvian woman was murdered by her partner, Olegs Pavlos, 35, in the family holding area at Harmondsworth just hours before the pair were due to be deported from Britain. They had been working picking fruit and flowers in the UK for about a year and came to the attention of the immigration service after they were arrested when they went to a Lincolnshire police station to complain that they had been robbed. In June 2004, Pavlos denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was found to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Unidentified man, (25), 18/6/03
A man from the Ivory Coast was found dead in the sea around Beachy Head near Eastbourne. The man had allegedly hidden on a ship – the Patricia Delmas – that was travelling from Belgium to Le Havre when he was arrested as a stowaway. He was being held in the ship’s jail when he managed to escape and jump overboard. It was thought that the man had mistakenly thought the ship was bound for the UK.
Two unidentified people, 7/03
Two people thought to be seeking to enter Britain were found dead in the water by a life-boat crew in the Channel.
Ø Faizullah Ahmedi, (19), 6/7/03
An asylum seeker from Afghanistan was found hanged at his home in Blackburn. He had arrived in the UK at Dover on 18 April 2002 and, according to his friends, he was unhappy that he had not yet received a decision on his asylum claim.
• Satish Kumar, (28), Islam Uddin Ahmed, (46) and Soran Karim, (23), 7/7/03
Three agricultural workers died when the minibus they were in collided with a Great Western train in Worcestershire. The men were from India, Bangladesh and Iraq. Soran Karim was an asylum seeker from Iraq who lost his parents and a brother in the chemical attack on Halabja and was probably working illegally. In May 2004, Adnan Kadir Karim, 25, an Iraqi, who had admitted not being able to read English signs, was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter by criminal negligence; he was also banned from driving for two years.
§ Ø Elmas Ozmico, (40), 12/7/03
A Kurdish asylum seeker died three days after being admitted to hospital suffering from septicaemia/ necrotising fasciitis. She had arrived at Dover on 8 July 2003 after travelling clandestinely from Turkey; it was during the journey she developed an abscess on her thigh. On arrival in the UK, she claimed asylum and her nephew (with whom she had travelled) requested a doctor and an interpreter. He says this request was ignored, as were subsequent ones. The family spent the night in detention in Dover detention centre and the following day Elmas requested a doctor, but it was not until she collapsed that workers at Migrant Helpline realised that she was very ill and that she needed an ambulance to take her to hospital. An inquest found that she died of natural causes. In June 2006, at the High Court, Elmas’ husband was denied a new inquest into her death after claiming that the first coroner failed to direct the inquest jury properly. (Read IRR News articles: Asylum seeker death in Dover from ‘natural causes’ and Did delay in treatment contribute to the death of a Turkish asylum seeker?)
Hekmat Karmin Salih, (29), 17/8/03
An Iraqi Kurd was found dead in a lorry entering Britain after being crushed by metal containers. The lorry was stopped by police in Poole, Dorset, and three men were found – the body of Hekmat and two others, who were arrested.
Ø Vasiliy Todchuk, (24), 9/03
A Russian national who had deserted from the Russian army in Chechnya, was found hanged on a building site in Govan, Glasgow. He had been detained in Polmont YOI on criminal charges in early 2003 and attempted suicide on the day before his release. Several weeks before his death he had been advised that he would be deported.
Ø Israfil Shiri, (30), 3/9/03
A destitute Iranian asylum seeker died six days after pouring petrol over his body and setting himself alight in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester. His asylum application had been rejected and he was homeless and penniless. Israfil suffered from a painful bowel complaint but, after his asylum claim was refused, he was unable to get medical treatment and was in constant pain. (Read IRR News articles: Destitute Iranian dies after suicide protest at refugee charity and Open verdict on death of asylum seeker who slept in a wheelie bin )
Ø § Tema Kombe (aka Emmanuel Silva/ Gladwell Moseki Keenao), (32), 4/9/03
A Ugandan asylum seeker was found hanged in a toilet in the psychiatric ward at Heatherwood hospital, Ascot, after being detained under the Mental Health Act. The inquest returned a verdict of misadventure after hearing that he had made three previous attempts on his life.
Ø Mohammed bin Duhri, (20), 20/10/03
A Palestinian asylum seeker was found hanged at Belmarsh maximum-security prison. He had been held at Dover Immigration Removal Centre but, after he allegedly assaulted a guard, he was moved to Belmarsh. Three prison officers were suspended after filing reports saying, after the death, that he was still alive. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict.
Ø Unnamed man, 2004
An Iraqi asylum seeker set himself alight in London. He had a history of mental health problems and was scared he would be returned to Iraq.
Two unidentified men, 2/04
Two men were found dead in the hold of a ship, the Cecdelta, which docked at Alexandra dock in Hull. The ship was carrying nuts and had travelled from Ghana. Another man was found alive.
• 23 Chinese workers: 18 men – Yu Hui, (34), Chen Mu Yu, (30), Guo Nian Zhu, (39), Lin Zhi Fang, (19), Xu Yu Hua, (37), Wu Jia Zhen, (36), Wu Hong Kang, (34), Xie Xiao Wen, (41), Lin Guo Hua, (37), Guo Bing Long, (28), Zhou Xun Cao, (38), Lin Guo Guang, (36), Cao Chao Kun, (35), Guo Chang Mou, (18), Yang Tian Long, (33), Lin Li Shui, (33), Wang Min Lin, (37), Lin You Xing, (38). 3 women – Chen Ai Qin, (39), Zhang Xiu Hua, (45) and Wang Xiu Yu, (27), 5/2/04
Twenty-three migrant workers, mostly from the Fujian province in China, died after they were caught in the dark on the mudflats by a rising tide at Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. They were all thought to be asylum seekers awaiting decisions on their claims. Fourteen survivors were taken into custody. Originally seven were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, but were later released on police bail. Two of the arrested survivors, Gua Lin, 30, and Lin Mu Lung, 29, both asylum seekers, were taken into the custody of the Immigration Service. Later, in March, a 33-year-old Chinese man was arrested in Liverpool on suspicion of manslaughter and questioned in a Lancashire police station. Many of the victims, it was reported, had been forced to work by a gang master who withheld their wages. In April, Detective Constable Neil Thompson was given a formal written warning and removed from the inquiry after he used offensive racist language (the word ‘chink’) in police interviews. Police officers also travelled to China to obtain DNA samples in order to identify those who died. In June, an inquest heard that the victims had died from drowning and all 23 had been identified although only 21 bodies had been recovered. In July 2004, Lin Liang Ren, 27, was charged with manslaughter, conspiracy to commit facilitation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Zhao Qing Xiao, 19, was charged with conspiracy to commit facilitation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Lin Mu Yong, 29, was charged with conspiracy to commit facilitation. In March 2006, Lin Liang Ren, was found guilty of the manslaughter of twenty-one people. His girlfriend Zhao Xiao Qing was found guilty of breaching immigration laws and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to two years and nine months. Lin Mu Yong, 31, was jailed for four years on immigration charges.
Ø § Kingsley Williamson 14/3/04
In February 2004, after serving a three-year sentence for possession of drugs Kingsley was told he would be deported to Jamaica. He had been detained in Hollesley Bay an open prison in Suffolk and had been working in an Ipswich school as part of a resettlement programme. A few days before the end of his sentence he was moved to Norwich prison and was told he would remain there until his deportation papers came through. On 14 March two weeks after he was meant to be released, he was found hanged in his cell. The Guardian reported that he was depressed at the prospect of a long wait for deportation.
# Bapishankar Kathirgamamathan, (24), 6/5/04
A Sri Lankan-born restaurant worker died two weeks after being racially attacked in Ashford, Kent. Bapishankar suffered serious head injuries after he and a friend were racially abused and then attacked on a footbridge in Victoria Road on 22 April 2004. Two men, James Rossiter, 22, and Tony Pile, 18, were charged with murder and remanded into custody. At the trial, the men denied the charges but were found guilty. The jury was told that Bapishankar’s head was kicked ‘like a football’ by the two men who had drunk ten pints each in the ‘vicious unprovoked attack’. In October 2005, the two men had their sentences reduced from 25 to 21 years.
Ø Zekria Mohammed, (27), 18/05/04
A trainee dentist from Afghanistan was found hanged from a makeshift noose behind the door of his flat in the Dennistoun area of Glasgow. Zekria had been living in Scotland for four years and he was destitute after his asylum claim had been rejected and weekly £38 benefits had been stopped. Friends commented that he was ‘ashamed and broken’ and had been ‘too proud to beg and scavenge for food in the bins. But he was starving’. It has been alleged that NASS should have provided him with food tokens, but did not even visit him. (Read IRR News article: Another asylum seeker takes own life )
Ø Hussein Nasseri, (26), 25/6/04
An Iranian asylum seeker found with a gunshot wound two weeks after his asylum claim was refused. Hussein, who was homosexual, fled Iran in March 2000 after being imprisoned for three months for his sexuality. He feared being executed if he was returned to Iran – where homosexuality is a ‘crime’ punishable by death. In June 2004, he received a letter telling him that his asylum claim had been refused, for a second time. The inquest recorded a verdict of suicide. (Read IRR News article: Inquest finds asylum refusal was motive for gay Iranian’s suicide )
Ø § Sergey Baranyuk, (31), 19/7/04
A Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged in Harmondsworth detention centre. His death sparked a night of disturbances at the centre and led to all the detainees being transferred to prisons and other detention centres. According to a Prison Service report into the disturbance, it found that UKDS staff began looking for Sergey at 1.45pm because he had a legal visit, he was not found until 7.50 in the evening in a shower room. The inquest into his death is due to be held in October 2006. (Read IRR News article: Sergey Baranyuk forgotten at Harmondsworth)
Ø § Tran Quang Tung, (35), 23/7/04
A Vietnamese asylum seeker was found hanged in Dungavel removal centre in Scotland days after being transferred from Harmondsworth removal centre after the disturbance in July 2004 that erupted after the death of Sergey Baranyuk. A fatal accident inquiry in May 2005 was told that Tran had been sent to Harmondsworth on 19 July after being arrested for breaching bail conditions. The inquiry was told how he arrived in the UK in April 2004 and claimed asylum though he had already tried to claim asylum in Germany). A nurse who saw him at Harmondsworth did not know what language he spoke nor did she use an interpreter. She thought that he was complaining of a headache and gave him some medicine. On 21 July he was transferred to Dungavel by bus with 59 others after the disturbance. Medical staff at Dungavel who examined him were again unable to communicate with him. When an immigration officer served him with his removal notice, for 27 July, she did not have an interpreter with her. A solicitor saw him on the day he was found hanged and was unable have to any ‘meaningful’ discussions as Tran spoke such little English. In the days before his death he had phone conversations with his sister and fiancée and had told them he was ‘sorrowful’ about his impending deportation to Germany. The fatal accident inquiry recommended that detained people, who did not speak good English, should have access to interpreters during interviews and that documents should also be translated.
Ø Ako Mahmood Ahmed, (25), 8/04
A Kurdish asylum seeker died after jumping from a bridge at a Coventry shopping centre. He arrived in the UK in May 2004 and was ‘dispersed’ to Coventry in June. His asylum claim was rejected and he lodged an appeal. However, because of legal aid limits, Ako was unable to find a solicitor to act for him. As a result, he was faced with destitution on the streets of Britain and the prospect of deportation to Iraq. In January 2005, the inquest into his death was told how, just days after arriving in the UK, he had attended a hospital suffering from superficial self-inflicted stab wounds. An asylum seeker at the same hostel told the inquest that Ako only went out alone despite attempts to encourage him to socialise. In a written statement a man who saw Ako repeatedly climb up and off the handrail (of the bridge) told the inquest ‘He looked depressed and I knew what his intentions were … he covered his face and jumped’. The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide. (Read IRR News article: Desperate asylum seeker takes own life )
# Kalan Kawa Karim, (29), 6/9/04
An Iraqi asylum seeker died after being attacked by a white man outside a pub in Swansea. Kalan was disabled – he had lost a leg below the knee after being tortured in Iraq. He came to the UK to seek asylum in 2002 and had been living in Swansea. Kalan was walking home with a friend when three men attacked them; Kalan was punched in the back of the head and taken to Morriston hospital, where he later died. Police treated the attack as racially motivated. 26-year-old Lee Mordecai was charged with Kalan’s murder. In January 2005, Mordecai admitted manslaughter (the charges were reduced after discussion with Kalan’s family) and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. The judge commented ‘I have no doubt that this incident was motivated by race. You picked on Mr Karim because he was of a different racial background from yours.’
Ø Seife Habte Yimene, (24), 26/9/04
An Ethiopian asylum seeker left a hospital where he had been seeking help and hanged himself. Seife was living in emergency accommodation in Newcastle while his asylum claim was being processed. He became very depressed in the weeks leading up to his death. On the day of his death, his friends were so concerned about his health that they took him to the Accident and Emergency department of Newcastle General Infirmary. The inquest in May 2006 was told that at the hospital Seife was seen by a doctor on four occasions but Seife refused to speak about what was wrong with him. Seife was not referred to a psychiatrist but told him he ‘could come back at any point when ready to talk’. It also emerged that at some point while Seife was in the hospital he was asked to leave, and two police officers escorted him from the premises. He was found hanged some hours later. The coroner called on a policeman to give information on Seife’s immigration status, but failed to call on a local refugee organisation or the assigned asylum caseworker who had not only been assisting with his asylum claim but also providing housing and other support. This caseworker did indeed know more details about Seife’s situation than did the police. And the details were crucial to understanding his distress and desperation. The coroner recorded an open verdict saying that there was insufficient evidence to be sure that what he did was a deliberate act. (Read IRR News article: A day in the death of an asylum seeker )
Ø Majid Rafieei, (32), 14/10/04
An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged from a tree in Langley Park, Sheffield. He had tied a noose around his neck before stepping off a high branch. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide and witness statements from Majid’s GP, mental health worker and two friends said that Majid had told them that he would kill himself if his asylum claim were refused. He said that he had been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured in Iran and would rather die than return there. (Read IRR News article: Asylum seeker suicide: ‘depressed and preoccupied’)
Ø § John Kanau Manana, (24), 15/10/04
A Kenyan was found hanged from a ligature in his cell at Leicester prison. Paramedics were called and attempted resuscitation and he was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was on remand for the possession of false documents. An inquest recorded an open verdict.
Ø § Kenny Peter, 7/11/04
A Nigerian asylum seeker died in Charing Cross hospital, nearly three weeks after sustaining injuries during an apparent self-harm attempt at Colnbrook immigration removal centre. It is believed that on 19 October, Kenny jumped from a landing and sustained serious injuries, from which he later died. (Read IRR News article: Kenny Peter’s inquest points to asylum failures)
Ø Hemen Mahmood Faqia, (40), 27/11/04
An Iraqi asylum seeker was found in the River Tyne, near Redheugh bridge, an hour after leaving his flat in Elswick. Hemen was Kurdish and sought asylum in the UK after fleeing persecution but he had agreed to voluntary repatriation. He was said to be worried about his wife and three children in Iraq and had been unhappy and depressed in the days before his death. A post mortem found that Hemen had died from drowning. In March 2005, the coroner recorded an open verdict saying, ‘I don’t feel I can arrive at a reliable conclusion because we have no evidence as to why he came to be in the water. There is nothing to tell us what happened to him between when he left his flat and was found in the water.’
Ø § Vincent Shem, (32), 14/2/05
A Ghanaian man was found hanged by a bed sheet in Wandsworth prison. The inquest in October 2005 was told he was facing deportation after serving a six-month sentence. He reportedly spent long hours locked in his cell with nothing to occupy him, and due to staff shortages and overcrowding there was little interaction between prison officers and prisoners. None of the prison officers who gave evidence at the inquest could even recall having spoken to him during the three weeks he was in prison. The inquest rejected a suicide verdict, as the jury were not sure beyond reasonable doubt that Vincent meant to take his own life.
Ø Limbaya Ndinga, (32), 9/4/05
An asylum seeker from the DRC was found hanged at the house he was sharing with his cousin in Woodvale near Rochdale. Didier Sengambo told the inquest in December 2005 how his cousin had left the DRC in 2002 and sought asylum in the UK. He had come to live with him in 2003 while waiting a decision on the asylum claim, and when it was refused Limbaya became depressed. The coroner found that ‘he was suffering from illness and took his own life while depressed’.
Unidentified man, 21/4/05
A man, believed to have been an asylum seeker, was knocked down and killed by a car on the M40, near Warwick. He is reported to have leapt from a van that had stopped at services and run towards the central reservation when a car hit him – he died instantly.
Ø § Ramazan Kumluca, (18), 27/6/05
A Kurdish asylum seeker from Turkey was found hanged in the privately run Campsfield House removal centre in Oxford. He had been detained for over four months and was said to be depressed after bail was rejected. In July 2006, an inquest found that he had taken his own life. Police read out a statement from fellow detainees who spoke of his fears for the future as he faced deportation to Italy. (Read NCADC News article: In memory Ramazan Kumluca)
Ø Nusrat Raza, (22), 2/7/05
A Pakistani asylum seeker died four days after setting herself alight in Bradford. She suffered from depression and had been told her claim for asylum had been refused, and had been appealing. Days before her death, she received a letter from the Home Office requesting further information. In February 2006, the coroner was told how Nusrat had been at home with her boyfriend and had gone into the kitchen to cook a meal. She was then heard shouting his name before being found alight in the street. At hospital where she was found to have 90 per cent burns to her body, she told a doctor that a cigarette had ignited her clothes on which she had spilt something earlier. The coroner found that ‘on the balance of probabilities I would take the view that she did deliberately pour fluid over herself and lit it with the lighter.’ A narrative verdict was recorded that ‘she died on July 2 in Whiston Hospital, Merseyside, of extensive burns caused when white spirit on her clothing was ignited by a naked flame by a cigarette lighter in the living room of her home on the morning of June 28’.
Ø Babak Ahadi, (34), 5/7/05
An Iranian asylum seeker set himself alight at his NASS accommodation in Bristol. He died the following day in Frenchay hospital after suffering 95 per cent burns to his body. According to his friends, Babak was depressed after being told his asylum claim had been refused. The inquest in February 2005 heard from Majid Faragi, a flatmate, who said that Babak had stopped him from putting out the flames with an extinguisher. The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide and commented, ‘I have no doubt in my mind that the failed asylum application had dire results and was the prime cause of Mr Ahadi’s death.’
Ø Taufik Al-Karazeh, aka Mohamad Eid, (27), 9/05
A Syrian asylum seeker found hanged in Rochdale on the day he was due to leave the flat where he had been housed and return voluntarily to Palestine after his asylum claim had been refused. An asylum caseworker told the inquest that Taufik had become paranoid and thought that the Home Office had installed CCTV at his flat. At the inquest, the coroner found that he took his own life but that he couldn’t be sure his balance of mind was disturbed. (Read Rochdale Observer article: Asylum seeker’s suicide tragedy )
# Rushi Kamdar, (23), 9/05
A migrant worker from India, who came to work in the UK in 2004, was kicked and stamped to death in a Coventry street in September 2005, after popping out to the shops. Luke Mozid, 18, was found guilty of his murder. The prosecution alleged that the attack was motivated by robbery and racism although Luke Mozid’s family dispute this.
Ø Edmore Ngwenya, (26), 14/9/05
A Zimbabwean asylum seeker died after jumping into a canal in Manchester. The police said they were called to Exchange Quay, ‘following reports that a man was standing on chains at the quayside. When they arrived, officers found the man, balancing on the chains that hold the buffer tyres at the side of the canal. Officers encouraged him to come away from the canal. He was then seen to step from the chains and into the canal, going under the water. Two officers jumped in after him, while other officers called instructions from the quayside. The man re-surfaced a number of times before disappearing under water.’ The Manchester Evening News reported that witnesses felt officers hesitated in responding to the situation: ‘Everyone in our office was shouting at the police to jump in to save him. These officers looked like they were just not trained to deal with it’, said a witness. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is conducting a ‘supervised’ investigation into the death. He was also facing deportation. (Read IRR News article: Two asylum seekers took their own lives within 24 hours )
Ø § Manuel Bravo, (35), 15/9/05
An Angolan, who was detained in Yarl’s Wood removal centre in Bedford with his 13-year-old son, was found hanged in a stairwell on the morning of his 35th birthday and the day he was due to be deported. His young son was transferred to the care of members of his father’s church in Leeds. Campaigners and members of Manuel’s church have called for a public inquiry into the death and the ‘illegal detention’ of Manuel who claimed he had not even received a decision on his asylum appeal and therefore could not understand why he had been served with a deportation order. (Read IRR News article: Two asylum seekers took their own lives within 24 hours )
Ø Anderson da Silva, (25), 5/10/05
A Brazilian migrant jumped to his death from a building in the centre of Leeds. An inquest was told that he had not renewed his six-month visitor visa that preyed on his mind. Cannabis was also found in his body, which the coroner commented, caused drug-induced psychosis that probably affected his mental state. The coroner found that he took his own life because of personal problems.
Do Van Ky, (37), 5/10/05
An undocumented Vietnamese man died after jumping or falling from a lorry at a service station at Haddon, near Peterborough. After the accident, police arrested two men, two women and a 17-year-old boy, all believed to be Vietnamese. Police eventually established his identity (wrongly) as Ky Anh Duong, 42 – the name an assumed one. In March 2006, an inquest recorded a misadventure verdict.
Ø Lizwane Ndlovu, (29), 10/11/05
A Zimbabwean asylum seeker died in Birmingham City hospital, probably from TB, though she did not know she had the disease. She took part in a hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood where she was detained, lapsing into a coma just weeks after being released from detention. Questions have been asked as to whether the removal centre had diagnosed her condition.
Ø Delroy Edwards, (43), 12/11/05
A Jamaican man died after being shot dead in Kingston, nine days after being deported from the UK. His asylum claim had been refused. Delroy had been in hiding at the time of his death and had initially fled after being shot. His claims, that he had been targeted by gangsters associated with PNP party, has been rejected by immigration adjudicators.
• Unnamed man, (42), 24/11/05
A migrant worker died the day after the minibus in which he was travelling in Peterborough overturned and hit a tree, fourteen others were treated for minor injuries.
Ø Star Engwenya, late 2005
A destitute Zimbabwean asylum seeker died in Hull hospital. She was apparently suffering from mental health problems and was, according to a friend, ‘living from place to place, depending on friends who could not provide her daily needs’. She had also suffered from a stroke and was unable to access any treatment.
Ø § Bereket Yohannes, (26), 19/1/06
An Eritrean asylum seeker was found hanged in a shower block at Harmondsworth removal centre. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC), which received reports that Bereket had arrived in the UK from Italy in October 2005, he was detained on arrival in the UK, taken to Dover immigration removal centre and then to Harmondsworth in December. NCADC was told that Bereket had ‘removal directions’ for February but that the deportation had been deferred pending a judicial review. Detainees at Harmondsworth also told NCADC that the deportation was neither to Eritrea nor back to Italy, but to Sudan. According to other detainees at the centre, he was fearful of deportation and found conditions at the centre ‘unbearable’. He also spoke of his intention to take his life. (Read IRR News article: Detainees punished for protesting after suicide )
Ø Taufik Al-Karazeh, aka Mohammed Ali, (27), 10/2/06
A Syrian asylum seeker found hanged in the meter cupboard of his flat in Rochdale on the day he was due to move out. His asylum claim was refused in September 2005. His body was found by his asylum caseworker who had arranged for his voluntary deportation to Palestine. After he failed to return his keys she visited the flat and found his body. She told the inquest that he had become paranoid and thought that the Home Office had installed CCTV at his flat and that staff were following him. The coroner, Simon Nelson, found that he took his own life, but that he couldn’t be sure that his balance of mind was disturbed at the time. He said: ‘Between 4 February and 10 February Mr Al-Karazeh made the decision to take his own life. I have no evidence to suggest he was depressed and therefore I am reluctant to say the balance of the deceased’s mind was disturbed at the time of death. The fact that he was due to leave the UK, be it voluntarily or otherwise, was playing on his mind, but that would be the case with any asylum seeker.’ (Read Rochdale Observer article: Asylum seeker’s suicide tragedy)
Ø Yadav Krishnakumar, (20 months), 20/2/06
A 20-month-old baby boy died hours after being admitted to Fairfield Hospital, Bury suffering from dehydration. The inquest, in December 2006, was told that Yadav had been taken to the hospital and a doctor’s surgery in the 48 hours before his death after suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting, but little was done. It was found that he probably died of dehydration and the coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes, although it is extremely rare for a child to die of dehydration. The coroner was extremely critical that the family of Sri Lankan asylum seekers had been placed in the area without any support network, describing it as ‘incomprehensible and inhumane’. (Read Manchester Evening News article: Baby tragedy of asylum family ‘left with no help’ )
Ø Naser Al Shdaida, (36), 9/3/06
A Syrian asylum seeker died after jumping in front of a train in Streatham. An inquest was told that he suffered from post-traumatic stress and was scared of being deported after he was told his asylum claim had failed. (Read IRR News article: Remembering Nasser Al Shdaida)
Ø Danielle Dominy, (30), 04/06
A Brazilian woman living in Werrington, Cornwall died after drinking antifreeze because she feared immigration officials were going to separate her from her daughter who was born in the UK. An inquest was told she had waited six years for a ruling on residence and was barred from work and benefits. Dr Elizabeth Carlyon, the coroner, recorded an open verdict, saying she would write to the Home Secretary about the case. According to husband Jamie Dominy, Danielle had come to the UK in 1999 and they had met and planned to travel the world but Danielle had become pregnant and overstayed her visa by a few weeks. The couple had tried to sort out her immigration status but she was told to leave the UK and reapply from Brazil. Danielle had been ‘left in limbo’, just waiting for a knock at the door.
Ø Serghei Nichita, (22), 16/4/06
A Moldovan asylum seeker whose burned body was found on a towpath next to the Grand Union Canal in Sixfields, Northampton. The inquest was told that he had suffered burns to half his body and the pattern of the burns suggested that he had held a live conductor (he was found near an electricity pylon). A caseworker from the local asylum support team told the inquest that he had come to the UK as a teenager and was awaiting a decision on his application for an extension to his discretionary leave to remain. The coroner recorded an open verdict saying ‘I’m quite satisfied there was no third party involvement but I can’t presume his death was an accident or that he wanted to end his life.’
Unidentified man, 23/4/06
A man died after apparently trying to cut himself loose from under a truck after slipping under the wheels and being dragged a mile along the A14 in Cambridgeshire. Police believed he was a stowaway. The German driver of the lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol. The victim was described as Asian, aged 24 to 45, slim, 5ft 8in tall, with short hair, moustache, goatee beard and sideburns.
# Khizar Hayat, (40), 27/4/06
A Kashmiri born migrant worker died following an arson attack on the shop where he worked in Kennington, south London.
# Hamidi Hamidullah, (31), 3/5/06
A migrant worker from Afghanistan died following an arson attack on the shop where he was working. 32-year-old Robert Torto was charged with the murders of Khizar Hayat (see above) and Hamidullah Hamidi and also charged with three counts of arson with intent to endanger life, relating to attacks on other buildings. He was remanded in custody.
Asif Azmad, (17), 11/5/06
Died after being crushed to death by the lorry he had stowed away in. The 17-year-old from Afghanistan clung to the lorry for fifteen miles before falling and being crushed on the A3 near Clanfield. The lorry had travelled to Portsmouth from France. It took police eight months to identify Asif, whose brother told the inquest that he did not know his brother was travelling to the UK.
Ø Sivanathan Gowthaman, (29), 13/5/06
A Sri Lankan asylum seeker died instantly after jumping in front of train in Bedhampton. An inquest into his death was told that mounting debts and the failure of his asylum claim were thought to have been factors. On the day before his death he had told his landlord that he was leaving to live with his brother in London, another man (who could not be traced) helped him pack his belongings and the two men left. The inquest found that he took his own life.
Ø Ese Elizabeth Alabi, (29), 15/5/06
A Nigerian woman died in hospital having been denied a heart transplant. Ese visited the UK regularly to see her fiancé and had never overstayed her tourist visas. However, in September 2005, she fell ill (while pregnant) and was told she could not fly home. She gave birth to twin boys in February, but steadily became sicker. She was diagnosed with a serious heart condition needing an immediate transplant. But as a foreign national her need was decided to be of a lower priority than UK citizens’. Her lawyer went to court for judicial review of this decision and because of the length of the legal fight she overstayed her visa and her medical case was adjourned until an application was heard for exceptional leave to remain. Her health deteriorated and she died before any case was heard.
Ø § Aleksey Baranovsky, (33), 06/06
A Ukrainian man bled to death in his cell at Rye Hill prison, Warwickshire. An inquest was told how he had repeatedly self-harmed as a protest against his impending deportation after serving a seven-year sentence and feared being killed by the Russian mafia if deported. A mental health assessment was never carried out and his request to see a doctor hours before his death was not followed up. An investigation by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) found that a nurse failed to provide the standard of care reasonably expected of someone in her role. When staff did realise that he was not breathing it took twenty minutes for his cell door to be opened. The coroner called his treatment at the privately run Rye Hill prison ‘shameful and appalling’. The jury recorded a highly critical narrative verdict outlining a catalogue of failures, highlighting failures to follow policy on suicide prevention or to arrange an urgent psychiatric assessment and a lack of communication between staff.
Ø Dejere Kebede-Tulu, (25), 06/06
An Ethiopian athlete, considered to be one of the best long-distance runners in the UK, was found dead in his flat in June 2006. In April 2007, an inquest into his death was told he continued to train as a runner despite living on a mere £25 per week. He came to the UK in 2001 after his father was murdered and claimed asylum. He had to wait until three weeks before his death before he was given indefinite leave to remain. His body bore scars of torture and at the time of his death he was receiving treatment from the Helen Bamber Foundation and it was workers from the organisation that found his body at his Holloway flat. The coroner recorded an open verdict as the cause of death could not be determined.
Asian man, 12/6/06
An Asian man was found dead by a roadside near Witham, Essex, two other men were also found nearby and taken to hospital, one man was severely dehydrated and in a critical condition. The men were thought to be Pakistanis who were smuggled into the UK.
Asian man, 22/6/06
An Asian man died in hospital, ten days after being found severely dehydrated with another two men, one of whom was already dead (see above).
Ø Abiy Fissiha Abebe, (35), 5/7/06
An Ethiopian asylum seeker was found hanged in Greenbank accommodation centre in Liverpool, after being told his asylum claim had been refused. His claim had been classified as a ‘late and opportunistic’ one and was being handled under the fast-track New Asylum Model under which decisions on asylum claims are given in eleven days. The conditions under which Abiy was housed and receiving support (of £35 per week) meant that he had to ‘report’ on a daily basis to Reliance House – some miles away. (Read IRR News article: Abiy Fessfha Abebe: ‘I can’t go back. I rather die’)
# Wei Wang, (41), 8/06 Glasgow
A Chinese asylum seeker died in hospital twelve days after being attacked in a ‘totally unprovoked’ attack outside his home in the Sighthill area of Glasgow. He had been in the Glasgow area for three months after being dispersed from London. A 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder.
Ø Pierre Palmaba Kabamba, (61), 12/8/06
An asylum seeker from Congo died after falling from a fifth floor window at the Nayland Rock hotel in Margate. The death is being treated as suicide. Pierre was staying with his wife at the hotel that is run by Migrant Helpline as an induction centre for up to 200 new arrivals – mainly Africans.
Ø Zamira Sadigova, (51), 17/8/06
An asylum seeker from Azerbaijan jumped to her death from her eleventh-floor flat in Glasgow as health officials and police officers tried to break down her door in order to section her (under the mental health Act) for treatment. The Glasgow Herald reported that she had arrived in the UK four years ago with her young son and claimed asylum on the grounds that she had been persecuted because she was Azerbaijani and her Jehovah’s Witness faith. However, her asylum claim was rejected as was an appeal and benefits were withdrawn in April 2005. Various medical reports stated that she was ‘vulnerable’. Zamira who had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, was first sectioned in 2003 when she was found jumping in front of cars on a Glasgow street. In the last few months before her death Zamira was surviving on £20 a week, given to her by a mental health charity. She had also become delusional, repeatedly talked about killing herself and had cut herself off from family and friends. Scottish MSP’s have called for a public inquiry into her death and the fact that she had been denied access to mental health treatment for a year before her death.. (Read Glasgow Herald article: Mentally ill asylum seeker left destitute leaps to her death.
Ø Paul Kiese, (31), 3/9/06
An asylum seeker from DRC was found hanged under a bridge over the River Spodden in Rochdale a month after his claim for asylum was refused. He had apparently spoken to his friends on numerous occasion about taking his own life after his asylum claim was refused and financial support withdrawn. (Read Rochdale Observer article: Refugee found dead at bridge )
Ø Abdullah Ahmed Maroof, (30), 10/06
An Iraqi man died after setting himself alight in his car on the A19 on the edge of Norton, Stockton. He feared being sent back to Iraq and possible retaliation after a cousin was murdered. Mr Maroof’s wife, Jane Parkes, told the inquest into his death: ‘He still felt responsible and guilty for his cousin’s murder. He thought that on his return he would be blamed and called to account for not protecting him more.’ His wife also told the inquest about immigration problems which were playing on his mind. The coroner, Michael Sheffield, found that Abdullah had killed himself, ‘I am satisfied that the actions he took – and strange actions they were – were intended to end his life.’
One unnamed men, (20s), 8/10/06
One man was found dead and another was found seriously injured on the A20 in Sellindge, Kent. Police were seeking the driver of an articulated lorry that apparently reversed over the men. The men are both believed to be Iraqis in their 20s.
Ø § Sarah Namala, (44), 15/10/06
Ugandan asylum seeker died after being found unconscious and unresponsive in her cell at Cookham Wood prison. She suffered from mental health problems and had fits while in prison. She had been prescribed anti-convulsant medication to treat epilepsy despite a firm diagnosis of epilepsy having not been made.
• Ajet Krasniqi, (24), 24/10/06
An undocumented Kosovan labourer died from serious head injuries after being hit on the head with a reinforced steel joist (RSJ) in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. The inquest in July 2008 was told that his head was struck by an RSJ which dropped whilst a group of workers were trying to lift it. Just prior to the incident, Ajet was plastering a ceiling inside the property when he was asked to come and help move the joist. He, along with other workers, was not wearing a hard hat. The HSE inspector told the jury that the HSE ‘wouldn’t recommend manually handling that weight at all.’ The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death. His employer was fined £10,000.
Unnamed Afghan man, (40s), 11/06
A man died after being run over by the lorry he had been hiding under after tying himself to it with rope. The man was killed after cutting himself free from the underside of the lorry and falling under the wheels as it started moving in Harlow, Essex.
Ø Imran Yousaf, (28), 01/07
A Pakistani doctor found hanged at a friend’s home in Bedford. Imran was a qualified doctor who came to the UK in order to practise medicine. He passed the exams allowing him to practise in the UK, however, despite sending out hundreds of letters and job applications he was unable to secure employment. And then in March 2006, the government announced that priority would be given to UK postgraduates. The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) began a legal challenge to this decision, of which Imran was a part. He did not leave a suicide note but a letter from immigration officials telling him that his visa would not be extended was found beside him. Friends of the doctor commented that he was becoming increasingly distraught.
Samuel Peter Benjamin, (17) 27/01/07
A South African man was found in the landing gear of a BA plane recently arrived in Los Angeles from London Heathrow. A pilot checking the plane for its return flight to the UK found the body. The young man from Cape Town, South Africa is thought to have stowed away on the plane on 22 January, six days before his body was found.
Ø § Abass Usman, (26), 29/01/07
A Nigerian man found hanged in his cell at Preston prison. He was on remand accused of using false documents and had only been in the prison for five days.
Ø Garip Aygun, (27), 03/07
A Turkish kebab shop owner was found hanged from a tree near Dover Castle. He had moved to the UK in 2005 to set up a business with his brothers, one of whom told the inquest: ‘He had stress because of the customers at the kebab shop. There was a lot of racism. Late-night customers would shout at him.’ The coroner commented: ‘I am satisfied that Mr Aygun intended to end his life.’
Ø Baitul Atique, 02/03/07
A Bangladeshi man found dead from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills in Dhaka. He had entered the UK as a dependant of his wife who entered under the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP). However the couple were forced to return to Bangladesh following changes to HSMP and an extension to his wife’s visa being rejected. His wife said that he was depressed following concerns about being able to repay loans the family had taken to travel and work in the UK and that they never would have taken them out if they had known about proposed rule changes. Baitul had earlier attempted suicide on his return.
Ø Uddhav Bhandari, (40), 18/03/07
A Nepalese asylum seeker set himself alight in the Eagle Building, Bothwell Street, Glasgow, home to the asylum and immigration tribunal, on 7 March and died eleven days later in Glasgow royal infirmary. The former police officer had exposed corruption within the police force in Nepal. He was then posted to a remote region, a move considered as punishment. Uddhav started to receive death threats following a gun battle and was later sacked for his involvement in the incident. Finally finding work with a leftist newspaper, his role in a controversial article made him more enemies in Nepalese society. Upon receiving an order to report to police, Uddhav and his family fled the country. Although the Home Office never disputed the facts in his asylum claim, Uddhav’s asylum application was rejected as a judge deemed the threat he faced in Nepal was not sufficiently serious, and that in any case, he would receive protection upon return as he was high-profile. Having been in the UK six years and terrified of being sent back, he set fire to himself as he was about to launch his final appeal.
• Otari Davidovitch Hudoian, (46), 28/03/07
A Kurdish Iraqi man died after falling from a height while refurbishing a farm building at East Hall Farm, Rainham, Essex. At the inquest in July 2008 a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector told the inquest that the site was in very poor condition, that there were no guardrails, floorboards were missing and the general condition of the building site was untidy. A verdict of accidental death was returned. His nationality was initially unclear as he was known as a Georgian called Mehmet. However his family were eventually located in northern Iraq. He was identified by fingerprints held by the Home Office.
Ø Conrad Dixon, (40), 19/05/07
A Jamaican asylum seeker died after setting himself alight and suffering nearly 100 per cent burns after his claim for asylum was refused. The Stoke-on-Trent coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.
Unnamed man, 06/07
An unnamed man was found dead in a speedboat being transported from Greece to Devon. Three others were taken to hospital. The boat was being transported by road and was stopped by police on the A43 near Chambery, France where the three men were found in a confined space with little ventilation. They had been on the boat for two days.
# Adam Michalski, (24), 08/07
A Polish migrant worker stabbed to death in a Wrexham street as he tried to get away from his assailant. In December 2007, Thomas Blue, 25, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum 17-year term, after being found guilty of the murder that he said was in self-defence. The trial was told how Blue abused Adam for being Polish and then stabbed him four times. The judge said he was satisfied that there was a racist element.
Ø Solyman Rashed, (28), 6/09/07
An asylum seeker who had been deported to Iraq from the UK was killed by a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, after having been back in the country for only two weeks. He had been held in various immigration detention centres for fifteen months after being arrested in May 2006 when he was homeless and destitute. Solyman felt that he would never be released from detention, after making numerous bail applications, and agreed to return voluntarily. He was deported to Baghdad on 15 August and travelled to his hometown of Kirkuk where he was killed just over two weeks later.
Ø Shaukat Ali, (61), 10/10/07
A Pakistani man found hanged at the flat where he was staying in Birkby, Huddersfield after being told his asylum claim had failed. His brother told the inquest that Shaukat had been in the UK illegally and had been trying to claim asylum but had recently been told he had to leave the UK. The coroner found that he took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.
# Gregory Fernandes, (32), 10/07
An Indian sailor from Goa died of a heart attack after being attacked by a gang in Fawley, Hampshire. He and a shipmate were returning to their ship berthed at Fawley oil refinery when they were met by a 20-strong gang who attacked them outside a hotel and then again further down the road. A passer-by, Jody Miles, broke up the fight and took Gregory back to the docks where he collapsed and died from a heart attack as a result of the stress. His friend Pitchilnaviram suffered a broken collarbone. Police said that Gregory was attacked because of his race. Ten teenagers, aged 13 to 17, were arrested on suspicion of murder, GBH and violent disorder and later released on bail. In January 2008, the Fernandes family expressed concern at the police investigation and the failure to charge anyone. Later three young boys were charged with murder. At their trial in February 2009, the three admitted lesser charges of manslaughter. In March 2009, Stephen Pritchard, 18, Daniel Rogers, 18 and Chay Fields, 16 were sentenced to six-and a half years in prison. A 15-year-old boy admitted GBH on Pitchilnaviram and was given a 12-month detention and training order. Another 15-year-old who also admitted assault was given a 18-month supervision order.
Ø § Avtar Singh, (37), 17/11/07
An undocumented Punjabi father of two took his own life in prison. He had travelled to the UK in 2003 and after some time here had sought advice from an agent on how to regularise his status. He was advised to travel to Spain to obtain legal status and had been given a false passport, for which he was caught. He served a seven-month sentence and was due to be deported to India the day before he died.
Ø § Abdullah Hagar Idris, aka Joker, (18), 25/12/07
An unaccompanied asylum-seeking child from Darfur, who arrived in the UK in 2005 and took his own life on Christmas Day 2007 at HMP Chelmsford. An inquest in June 2010 heard damning evidence of numerous systemic and individual failures by state bodies, principally including HMP Chelmsford and Essex Social Services (ESS), in the way Joker was treated and cared for both before and after entering prison. The inquest into his death was told he had been due for release in January 2008 but shortly before his death was given a notice of deportation to Sudan. He was probably unable to understand fully what was to happen as his English was not very good.
Ø § Siumpalan Sathiyan, (29), 20/01/08
A Sri Lankan man found hanged in his cell at Wormwood Scrubs prison in West London. He was on remand on a charge of ‘making a false instrument’.
• Wu Zhu Weng, (27), 31/01/08
A Chinese migrant worker died in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after falling through a skylight of a roof he was working on. Sharaz Butt, company director at Norwich-based Alcon Construction, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in July 2008 at Norwich Crown Court and also admitted three health and safety offences on behalf of the company, including failing to ensure the safety of employees and failing to give staff proper training. The court was told how Butt drove Wu to hospital and told staff the injuries happened after Wu had fallen down stairs at his home. Wu had actually fallen 13 feet when he stumbled through a skylight which was covered by a thin plastic sheet and was not marked as a hazard. In August 2008, Butt was jailed for twelve months and disqualified from acting as a company director.
Ø Mohammed Ahmedi, (18), 6/02/08
A young Iraqi asylum seeker with a heart condition died in Gloucester Royal hospital as doctors and social workers attempted to clarify his immigration status. His family and lawyer expressed concerns that he was not treated adequately because his status was unclear.
Ø Barhan Ahmed, (28), 18/02/08
An Iraqi asylum seeker died after setting himself alight in Nelson, Lancashire. An inquest in September 2008 was told that he suffered from depression and had told his doctor of his despair. He made his asylum claim in 2002 after seeking asylum with his brothers but it had been refused. The coroner found that he had taken his own life.
Ø Ama Sumani, (39), 30/03/08
A Ghanaian woman died in Korle Bu Hospital in Accra, Ghana after being deported from the UK in January 2008 while being treated for cancer at the University Hospital of Wales. She was taken from the hospital in a wheelchair by five immigration officers and driven to Heathrow. The Lancet commented after her removal, ‘To stop treating patients in the knowledge that they are being sent home to die is an unacceptable breach of the duties of any health professional. The UK has committed an atrocious barbarism. It is time for doctors’ leaders to say so, forcefully and uncompromisingly.’
Ø § Delaili Kwadzo Abusah, aka Alfredo Castano-Fuentes, (28), 30/03/08
A Ghanaian found hanged in his cell at HMP Pentonville. He was arrested in north Wales and charged with entering the country illegally after using a false passport, and served a one-year sentence. The inquest was told he was served with a deportation notice two weeks before his death. Julie Rogers, a senior officer at Pentonville who delivered the news of his deportation, said she spent five minutes with him, and he appeared to have expected it. The coroner directed the jury to record a verdict of suicide.
Ø Lucy Kirma, 05/08
An asylum seeker was found dead in a house used to house asylum seekers in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. A friend who found her commented: ‘I think she had received a letter saying she had to leave and she was very upset about it. I think she just starved herself to death because she took to her room and wouldn’t come out, not even for a drink. She told me her support had also been stopped.’
Two unnamed men, 25/05/08
The bodies of two unidentified men, thought to be north Africans, were found in the cargo hold of a ship docked at Ayr port in Scotland. The ship had recently arrived from Tunisia carrying material for the production of fertilisers. It is thought that the men died soon after secreting themselves in the hold as once the doors were shut there would have been very little air. The men were thought to be Tunisian after ID cards bearing a Tunisian flag were found.
Ø Mohammad Hussain, (36), 3/08/08
This man died of cancer in hospital following a long fight to gain refugee status. Mohammad left Erbil and sought refuge in the UK in March 2000, following threats from the Kurdish Democratic Party because of his political campaigning. He narrowly avoided deportation, on 14 May 2008, after his lawyer successfully challenged it. While he was held in Lindholme removal centre he sought medical help for a lump in his stomach and was prescribed painkillers. On his release in May he went to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where he was diagnosed with a form of cancer which (by that stage) was incurable. (Read IRR News article: Appeal for funds to send Iraqi man home)
Ø Nadir Zarabee, 5/08/08
An Iranian asylum seeker found hanged in a park in Longsight, Manchester after being asked to leave his Trafford home, which had been provided by a private company contracted by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) to provide housing to asylum seekers in the area. (Read IRR News article: Two asylum seekers take their own lives )
Ø Hussein Ali, (35), 10/08/08
Shot himself in the cellar of his home in Sulaimania, Kurdistan days after being deported from the UK. Hussein had been in the UK since 2002. He was detained for fifty days at Oakington removal centre in Cambridgeshire after being arrested in London for working without permission. He was deported to Erbil via Jordan on 7 August 2008. (Read IRR News article: Two asylum seekers take their own lives)
Ø Unnamed Zimbawean man, (32), 1/09/08
A Zimbabwean man found dead at his home, a month after being released from Colnbrook, the maximum security removal centre in west London. A post-mortem revealed the cause of death as tuberculosis (TB). The man came to the UK in 2002 on a visitor’s visa that he overstayed. He was held at Colnbrook for just over two years until shortly before his death. Prior to that he had served a sentence of forty months at Littlehey prison where he was detained under immigration powers for deportation to Zimbabwe and transferred to Colnbrook. In July 2008, he was temporarily released on licence following an Appeals Tribunal hearing and placed in National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation, where he was found on 1 September 2008 a neighbour noticed his flat door was open and the television on. The man was released six days after being told he was no longer infectious and after having spent time in hospital and on the healthcare wing at Colnbrook being treated for TB. Information from the coroner suggested that he had been trying to register with a doctor following his release from Colnbrook but had been unsuccessful. An investigation following the death by the Prisons and Probation Service Ombudsman (PPO) made four recommendations, two in relation to the medical needs of detainees and two in relation to public protection. The two public protection recommendations were accepted, however the recommendations in relation to accessing healthcare for asylum seekers were not. The PPO stated that the ‘the state has a duty of care to those it is releasing from immigration detention’, and was also critical of the lack of information provided to NASS caseworkers who were unaware of the man’s medical condition.
Ø Frank Odame, (36), 09/08
A Ghanaian man found with head injuries below a block of flats after police officers and immigration officials visited a flat in Woodford Green. The death is being investigated by the Directorate of Professional Standards of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Baj Singh, (33), 09/08
Indian man died after being crushed to death under the wheels of a lorry in Trent Vale, Staffordshire. The lorry had travelled from Belgium via Germany. An inquest was told that fingerprint records showed that he had been picked up twice by immigration officials while trying to enter the UK from Calais and sent back. He had no official documents but gave his name as Baj Singh, when he was picked up earlier on 18 April.
Ø Mohammed Ali, (80), 2/11/08
An Iraqi man suffering from cancer died after being denied treatment and pursued for payment for treatment he had already received. He arrived in the UK in 2006 from Denmark to live with his son in London and was soon diagnosed with lung cancer. He did receive some treatment but this was soon stopped on the grounds that he was not entitled to free treatment. Instead Mohammed was pursued by debt collectors (sent by the NHS) who, according to his son, called at their home first once a month and then on a weekly basis. Mohammed was here legally and was waiting to hear from the Home Office about his right to remain in the UK, which was granted in April 2008. The hospital did agree to refund part of his money and to treat him – but it was too late.
Duy Nguyen, (25), 2/12/08
A Vietnamese man found dead in the back of lorry stopped on the M3 in Winchester by police after arriving from France in the Channel Tunnel. The 45-year-old driver was detained and later bailed pending further inquiries. The driver called the police after being alerted by another motorist on the M3 who had seen a hand poking from the lorry. The driver had stopped and an unidentified man had run from the lorry. Police said the death was not suspicious and that he had died from hypothermia and natural causes.
# Kunal Mohanty, (30), 03/09
This Indian sailor died after his throat was slit in a street attack in Glasgow. Kunal, in the city to sit exams at the Nautical College for promotion to sea captain, was on his way to get a meal with three friends. Christopher Miller approached the four and asked for a cigarette and then, after calling Kunal ‘black b*****d’, produced a knife and slashed Kunal across the throat. Miller was also later heard to boast to having ‘done a P**i’. Miller, 25, denied charges of racially aggravated murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice and acting in a racially aggravated manner. A jury unanimously found him guilty and the judge sentenced him to serve at least 18 years in prison. (Miller had previous convictions for racially aggravated offences.)
Unknown man, (30s), 6/04/09
Found dead on Eurostar rail tracks, his badly injured body was found by police who believe he had been hit by a train or fallen from one.
# Marek Muszynski, (40), 07/09
A Polish man died after being attacked in the street in Newry, Northern Ireland. He was allegedly taunted with ‘Go back to your own country, you’re not wanted in Ireland’, and then savagely beaten and robbed. A man and a woman have been charged with murder.
Ø Heval Huseyn Ismail, (28), 9/8/09
A Kurdish asylum seeker found hanged in a park in South Shields, South Tyneside. He arrived in the UK in 2006 from Syria and was refused asylum in 2008 and was facing deportation. The coroner recorded an open verdict saying he was not satisfied he intended to take his own life.
Ø Jasraj Singh Kataria, (23 months), 16/8/09
A young child fell from the window of a third floor flat in Dennistoun, Glasgow. Jasraj fell from the window as he apparently watched children walking to school, on 8 August, and died just over a week later. His family were Sikh asylum seekers from Afghanistan, who had been housed at the block of flats by a UKBA contractor, the Angel Group. According to the Glasgow Herald: ‘Homes with vulnerable occupants must have windows fitted with equipment to prevent falls.’ The Angel Group has insisted that the windows at the flat were fitted with locks, as has the UKBA, but has also refused to make public its investigation into the death. Campaigners have called for a fatal accident inquiry into the death.
Ø Hassan Rahimi, (16/17), 10/9/09
A teenage unaccompanied Afghan asylum seeker found hanged in Hounslow, west London in accommodation provided by the social services department. The day before his death, he was arrested following an alleged assault on his key worker following an argument over an ‘allowance payment’. The day before his death he had also been told that key workers would not be staying with him overnight at his flat and that the hours spent with him would be reduced. He had arrived in the UK in June 2005 and placed in the care of Hounslow social services, had been given leave to remain until 8 October 2010 and was awaiting a decision on whether further leave to remain would be given. He was placed with at least six difference foster carers and then in shared/supported accommodation. He had also spent time in secure psychiatric care. There seemed to be some dispute over his age, as following an arrest Hassan insisted that he was over 21 and be treated as an adult. In September 2009, the coroner found that Hassan had taken his own life.
Unknown man, 31/10/09
Body of a man found in a lorry that was about to enter the Channel Tunnel in France. The lorry had travelled from Belgium and was stopped by customs officials and his body was found in a cramped compartment that was hidden. It is thought the man suffocated to death.
Ø Mohammed Safi, (18), 30/10/09
An Afghan boy found drowned in the Thames seven hours after being arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.
Ø Jianping Liu, (35), 12/11/09
A Chinese woman died after falling from a bridge on the Northern Perimeter Road near Heathrow airport hours after she was arrested by police as an overstayer in the public departure area at Terminal 1. She had been released at 9.30am from custody after it was found that she had leave to be in the UK, and her death was reported at around 1pm that afternoon. (Read IRR News article: Death of Chinese woman at Heathrow under investigation)
Ø Yurij Skruten, 01/10
A Ukrainian man was found hanged in a disused pub in Brentford. His body was decomposed so the exact cause of death was difficult to establish. He had apparently been living rough after his asylum claim had been refused.
Ø Serguei Serykh, (43), Tatiana Serykh, Stepan Serykh, (19), 7/3/10
Three Russians died after falling from the fifteenth floor at the Red Road complex in the Balornock area of Glasgow, where asylum seekers are housed by the YMCA under contracts with the UKBA. According to media reports, the family had been granted refugee status in Canada but refused citizenship. Following disputes with authorities, they had left and travelled to Europe, eventually seeking asylum in the UK in 2007. The family apparently settled in Newham, east London where their asylum claims were refused in December 2008. They then moved to Glasgow in autumn 2009. On 15 February the family were told that they were facing deportation, they could go voluntarily or be forcibly deported, back to Russia. The family were also thought to be facing eviction from their flat. Campaigners have called for a fatal accident inquiry to be held into the deaths.
Ramahdin, (16), 11/04/10
An Afghan boy died in the early hours of the morning after apparently falling from a lorry that had just boarded a boat near to Dunkirk. The young boy, named only as Ramahdin, was apparently trying to reach his cousin who had already travelled clandestinely to the UK the week before.
Ø § Eliud Nguli Nyenze, (40), 15/04/10
A Kenyan man died at Oakington removal centre in Cambridge after apparently suffering a heart attack. Campaigners and other detainees alleged that he had been refused medical care. Following his death a disturbance erupted at Oakington and at least 60 people were transferred to prisons. In the days following the death the private company that runs the centre, G4S, was stripped of its British Safety Council award for its ‘commitment to improving health and safety’. An inquest in October 2010 was told that he had collapsed in his room and despite earlier complaining that he wasn’t well had been refused paracetamol. An ambulance took twenty minutes to reach the centre and the nurse who went to treat him did not take a defibrillator with her. The Home Office pathologist could find no cause of death but suggested sudden adult death syndrome. The coroner recorded a verdict that he died of natural causes, a verdict Eliud’s family were unhappy with.
Ø Alan Rasoul Ahmed, Wales, (21), 2/05/10
A man found hanged in accommodation in Kensington, Liverpool. Alan had become depressed over the final weeks of his life, he was homesick and wanted to return home to Iraq after his asylum claim was refused. Unfortunately being left in limbo and the pain of wanting to return home became too much for him and his took his own life.
Ø Osman Rasul Mohammed, (27), 25/07/10
An Iraqi Kurdish asylum seeker jumped from the seventh floor of a Nottingham tower block. On Sunday 25 July 2010, according to the Guardian, police officers talked to Osman as he was perched by railings of Clifford Court in Radford for two hours before he placed his hand on his heart, looked up to the sky and jumped. Osman was destitute and relied on the generosity of his friends, many of whom were in a similar situation, and local charity distributed by Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum (NNRF). Osman had been in the UK since 2001 after fleeing Iraq when his father and brother were killed. He had been refused permission to stay in the UK but was in the process of submitting a fresh asylum claim. As such he was not in receipt of any support from the government and was forced to live on the street with £20 per month and food parcels supplied by NNRF. He was not allowed to work and probably had little access to health care. He had separated from his Polish partner with whom he had two children. The Guardian also reported that he had managed to make his way to London to visit UKBA offices in Croydon but had been turned away and told to find a solicitor. Osman was one of over 10,000 clients of the Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) charity that recently went into administration leaving its vulnerable clients without access to legal advice. (Read IRR News article: Nottingham asylum seeker jumps to his death)
• Qabil Amin, (21), 22/08/10
An asylum seeker from Afghanistan found dead in the cab of a digger in Blackburn, Lancashire. He suffered from head injuries after the digger he was driving crashed. The UKBA commented that his ‘case for asylum was still under consideration at the time of his death, but the legality of his work is still being looked at.’
Ø § Jimmy Mubenga, (46), 12/10/10
An Angolan man died after becoming ‘unwell’ during a deportation. According to the Guardian the man was being escorted by three guards from the private company G4S, on a flight that was preparing to leave from Heathrow to Luanda, Angola, paramedics were called and the man was taken to Hillingdon hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are investigating the death. (Read Guardian article: Security guards accused over death of man being deported to Angola)
See the IRR’s report: Driven to desperate measures (1989-2006) (pdf file, 401kb)
See the IRR’s report: Driven to desperate measures: 2006-2010 (pdf file, 432 kb)
Prisons and Probation Service Ombudsman fatal accident investigation reports
KEY: Stowaway death; Ø Self-harm/prevention of medical treatment/destitution; § In detention; • working (illegally) accident; # racist attack.
The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.