Britain's border controls were condemned as "non-existent" today after it was claimed that the suspected murderer of a policewoman fled the country by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.
Police reportedly believe that Mustaf Jamma, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky, used his sister's passport and wore a full niqab to evade checks at Heathrow airport.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis insisted there should be an urgent inquiry.
At the time of the 26-year-old's apparent escape between Christmas Day last year and New Year's Day, he was one of the UK's most wanted men and the airport was on high alert in the wake of the July 7 bombing attacks.
But it is thought that staff rarely ask those departing Britain to remove veils in order to make sure their identification is valid.
A BAA Heathrow spokesman told The Times: "Immigration control staff always do a visual check on people coming into the country but only random checks are made with outgoing passengers."
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis today insisted an urgent inquiry was needed into the breach.
"The idea that under any circumstances you could be let through passport control wearing a veil is barely credible," he said.
"Doing so when an All Persons Bulletin for murder has been issued demonstrates that our borders are not just porous but non-existent."
Detectives have vowed to catch both Jamma, who is thought to be in Somalia, and Piran Ditta Khan, who is also on the run.
Pc Beshenivsky was shot and killed on November 18 last year as she arrived at the scene of the a robbery in Bradford city centre on the day of her youngest daughter's fourth birthday.
Yusuf Abdillh Jamma - the fugitive's younger brother - was unanimously convicted of the 38-year-old officer's murder earlier this week and Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah earlier admitted the charge at Newcastle Crown Court.
They will be sentenced on Friday along with two other men - Faisal Razzaq and his brother Hassan - who were convicted of her manslaughter.
West Yorkshire Police were unavailable for comment.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said it "beggars belief" that a wanted criminal could leave the country hidden behind a veil.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme there were existing powers for people wearing veils to be searched and urged the Government to issue "urgent clarification" on whether immigration or airport officials should carry out the check.
"There needs to be urgent clarification or just simple guidance that a facial check against a passport photograph needs to be carried out at all times."
He said asylum seekers like Jamma, who had been convicted of crimes but could not be deported, should be subject to "much stricter surveillance".
"He was left to his own devices and of course the consequences were tragic for Sharon Beshenivsky."Reuse content