Nepalese heir bids to stay in Britain

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The Independent Online
The young Nepalese heir of a benefactor's fortune yesterday launched a last-ditch attempt in court to stay in the United Kingdom with his commune- style "family" in a castle in Gloucestershire.

In one of the strangest immigration appeals to reach the courts, Jayaram Khadka, 20, is battling for the right to settle here with his 42-year- old "adoptive" father Richard Morley and other members of the "21st century" family at the stately home.

Mr Morley, an apparently wealthy former navy lieutenant and businessman, transported the young man from his poor mountain community to Clearwell Castle, Forest of Dean, six years ago.

Mr Morley claims he was fulfilling a promise to the boy's dead father, who had saved his life after a climbing accident in the Himalayas.

But the Home Office was determined from the outset to resist pleas for him to stay in the country because the immigration authorities had been misled about his age.

Mr Morley has pledged that if Mr Khadka lost his attempt to stay he would leave Britain too rather than abandon his "son".

Mr Morley was never able to adopt him legally because the boy had entered the country on an adult passport although only in his mid-teens, but made him his heir on his 19th birthday.

The High Court hearing before Mr Justice Laws follows the Home Office's decision to deport Mr Khadka despite a strong recommendation by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in February that there would be "little sense" in making him leave the country.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, gave his personal consideration to the case.

In a lengthy description of the communal "family" at Clearwell in a sworn statement put before the court yesterday, Mr Khadka, who works as the head chef at the castle, said that he and Mr Morley were "pledged together until death".

He had been brought up, he said, within a unique family structure involving the "establishment and maintenance of life-long bonds between a small but slowly growing group of otherwise unrelated men and women who seek domestic harmony and stability as their prime motivation".

Membership of the group was voluntary, but once taken up it precluded subsequent marriage outside it.

Mr Morley said outside the court: "The case is very important for us. If we lose we are all obviously sorry to leave our home and everything we have in this country.

"It will be an enormous sacrifice and upheaval for us, but, as we have always said, there is no doubt that we will do that because we have no alternative."

Mr Khadka said: "It means everything to me because I have grown up with this family and this is my family. If we lose it is going to put the family in turmoil." Mr Khadka's statement went on to say that in a modern society, "families split apart, children are reared by single parents, the edlerly are neglected and casual relationships become commonplace".

Mr Morley's vision "offered an alternative to that process. He reasoned that neither gender nor sexual attraction nor race nor age nor indigenous culture nor even social background were the true foundation of successful human relationships.

"As I have grown older within my family ... I have found a home in which selfishness and insincerity does not exist. I have found a common empathy with my family so strong that they have all pledged themselves to stand by me where ever I am forced to go."

Mr Khadka appealed to the court to recognise the "truly exceptional nature of my circumstances".

Judgment was reserved until a later date.