Foreign prisoner committed murder

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Indy Politics

The Home Office immigration chief, Lin Homer, made the highly damaging disclosure in an update to MPs over the fiasco. She said that 48 of the more serious offenders went on to commit more crimes. Sixteen of the crimes were serious, an increase from the 13 admitted in previous Home Office statements.

One of the reoffenders was given a life sentence for murder, Ms Homer said. He had a "long history of offending" but could not be deported because he had lived in Britain for 30 years.

According to the Home Office figures, 46 of the foreign nationals have been deported. But only one of the 43 "most serious offenders" - killers, rapists and paedophiles - has been deported.

Six foreign prisoners who committed murder, manslaughter, rape or child-sex offences are still at large. While five foreign offenders among those who committed the most serious crimes had been given bail by the courts.

Ms Homer said: "The [six] cases remain a high priority and urgent work continues to locate and deal with these offenders." The updated figures put John Reid, Mr Clarke's successor as Home Secretary, under pressure to deliver on his promise to Parliament for tougher action.

Ms Homer's letter to the Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs, which is investigating the blunders, also raised questions about who, if anyone, will have to take responsibility for the mistakes.

She disclosed that an internal investigation had found "systemic failures" in her department but no ground for disciplinary action against any civil servants.

The immigration authorities had identified 48 prisoners who had committed serious offences who had been reconvicted, including 16 who had committed further serious offences.

Ms Homer said she regretted the murder committed by the freed prisoner but said the review would not have changed the outcome. However, there is growing alarm at the continuing risk to the public posed by released prisoners.