Hit-and-run asylum seeker to remain in the UK

By Lucy Collins,Press Association
Thursday 24 December 2009 14:03

An Iraqi asylum seeker who knocked down a 12-year-old girl and left her to die while banned from driving has won the right to remain in the UK.

Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, 31, from Blackburn, Lancashire, faced deportation but successfully invoked human rights legislation granting him the right to a "family life" in the UK.

Victim Amy Houston's father Paul, who campaigned for Ibrahim's deportation, is outraged by the judge's decision, made earlier this week.

His local MP, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, has vowed to take up the case and the UK Border Agency is also considering an appeal.

Amy Houston was trapped under the wheels of Ibrahim's vehicle in November 2003 and died later in hospital.

Ibrahim, who ran off from the scene, was jailed for four months by Blackburn magistrates for driving while disqualified and failing to stop after an accident.

He was already banned from driving when he committed the offence.

Ibrahim went on to flout his driving ban in 2006 when he was caught driving while disqualified and with no insurance.

Mr Houston, of Darwen, told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph: "I can't believe the decision the judge has come to."

He vowed to keep fighting for Ibrahim's deportation "for the rest of my life" and added: "What a Christmas present for him and what a terrible one for my family."

Ibrahim was due to be deported after he was taken into the custody of the UK Border Agency last October.

But the Iraqi Kurd claimed it was too dangerous to return to his homeland and won the right to stay in Britain after a lengthy series of appeals.

The UK Border Agency confirmed Ibrahim was a failed asylum seeker who mounted a legal challenge against deportation on human rights grounds, citing the right to a family life.

An agency spokeswoman said Ibrahim married a British woman in 2001 in an Islamic ceremony and has two children.

She said it was likely the agency would consider an appeal against the judge's decision.

Jo Liddy, regional director of the UK Border Agency in the North West, said: "We are extremely disappointed at the court's decision to allow Mr Ibrahim's appeal against removal from the UK.

"We have made it clear that we will prioritise the removal of those foreign nationals who present the most risk of harm to the public."

Blackburn MP Mr Straw said he found the judge's decision "very disappointing".

He said: "I will be speaking to the Home Secretary to see if there's any way we can appeal against this decision, and I will also be talking to the family. They have been through an awful time."