Failed Asylum Seeker Who Murdered Three Avoided Deportation Because Libya Was Unstable

Police forensics officers dressed in Tyvek protective PPE (personal protective equipment)
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Failed asylum seeker Khairi Saadallah avoided deportation to Libya for more than seven years before going on a murderous stabbing spree that authorities labelled a terror attack because human rights laws forbid deporting foreigners if their native country is unstable.

The revelation came during the sentencing hearing of the 26-year-old Libyan at the Old Bailey on Tuesday. In November, Saadallah pleaded guilty to murdering three men and attempting to murder three others during a stabbing rampage at a Reading park on June 20th, 2020. During the multi-day sentencing hearing, the prosecution is arguing that Saadallah was influenced by Islamist jihadist ideology to commit a premeditated terror attack and that he should face life in prison.

The prosecution told the court, according to the Evening Standard, that Saadallah travelled from Tripoli, Libya, to the UK in 2012 on a visitor’s visa then claimed asylum, alleging that he had fled an armed group that had helped overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

His refugee application was rejected, but rather than obey the leave order, he “absconded” in 2013, only to come to the attention of authorities again due to his criminal activity. Reports from 2020 revealing that over the next seven years, the failed asylum seeker had racked up a series of convictions and prison sentences including for battery, assault of a female police officer, and racially aggravated harassment.

Saadallah then said he would abide by the removal order but, the court heard, “stopped cooperating with the process in 2014”. Despite his criminal activities and refusal to abide by immigration laws, in 2018 he was given temporary leave to remain until 2023.

The Home Office then considered him for removal in 2019, “But he was told the Secretary of State was not going to take the step of deporting the defendant at that time because of what was described as a legal barrier. The legal barrier that prevented him from being deported was purely and simply the circumstances as they existed in Libya at that time,” Alison Morgan QC said.

The migrant’s final stint in prison ended on June 5th, 2020, and he was again marked for removal but could not be deported under human rights laws. Just over two weeks alter, he murdered James Furlong, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, and David Wails, while yelling “Allahu Akbar” and attempted to murder Patrick Edwards, Nishit Nisudan, and Stephen Young.

Ms Morgan told the court: “In less than a minute, shouting the words Allahu Akbar – God is greatest – the defendant carried out a lethal attack with a knife, killing all three men before they had even a chance to respond and try to defend themselves.

“Within the same minute, the defendant went on to attack others nearby, stabbing three more men.

“The defendant was ruthlessly efficient in his actions and, the prosecution’s case is, the attack perpetrated by him was carefully planned and executed with determination and precision.

“Moreover the defendant believed in carrying out this attack he was acting in pursuit of an extremist ideology he appears to have held for some time.

“He believed killing as many people as possible, he was performing an act of religious jihad.”

She also told the judge that Saadallah had lied in his asylum application. While admitting to belonging to the now-proscribed Ansar Al Sharia terror group, he had claimed during the asylum process that he did not handle weapons or fight but guarded hospitals — a statement countered by evidence presented by the prosecution of Facebook pictures from 2011 showing the Libyan handling firearms and appearing “proud of what he was doing”.

The court also heard that he had befriended an Islamist extremist during one of his stints in prison. The prosecution revealed that Saadallah had served time with Muslim convert Omar Brooks, also known as Abu Izzadeen, at HMP Bullingdon. Morgan described Brooks as a “prominent radical preacher” and member of the banned terror group, al-Muhajiroun, co-founded by Anjem Choudary.

Mr Justice Sweeney will continue sentencing proceedings on Wednesday and Friday, concluding on January 11th.


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