Asylum seeker who died fleeing immigration officers ‘was just asking for safety in UK’, inquest hears

Mustafa Dawood’s mother tells inquest: ‘I never want this to happen to any other family, to have their child taken away’

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Monday 01 November 2021 20:02
<p>Mustafa Dawood, 23, fell through a roof during an immigration raid </p>

Mustafa Dawood, 23, fell through a roof during an immigration raid

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An asylum seeker who fell to his death while fleeing immigration officers was “just asking for safety” in the UK, an inquest has heard.

Mustafa Dawood was found on the floor of an industrial unit with fatal head injuries after a raid on a car wash in Newport, south Wales, in June 2018.

An inquest opened at Gwent Coroner’s Court on Monday to establish whether immigration officers’ actions or any other factors contributed to the 23-year-old’s death.

It heard that he fell to his death through a warehouse roof while being chased.

Mr Dawood's mother, who travelled from Sudan to attend the inquest, told the court her son “felt a strong passion for human rights and felt that everyone should be protected and free to live their lives free from persecution and fear”.

“I never want this to happen to any other family, to have their child taken away. I and my family pray that Mustafa is in paradise,” Hameda Hamed Shogar Ahmed said.

“My son was not a thief or a murderer, he was just a young person asking for safety. I want to understand what happened on 30 June 2018.”

The inquest heard that Mr Dawood was part of the Zaghawa tribe from the Darfur region, who face persecution from local militias.

His mother said he had worked with his father as a lorry driver but was often stopped and sometimes imprisoned, adding: “[In Sudan] there is so much killing every day, so many young people are killed or disappeared - that's why our young men have to flee to avoid the same destiny.”

Caroline Saunders, the coroner, said: “Mustafa was finding living in Sudan increasingly difficult, and he was regularly stopped by the authorities – he eventually found the situation intolerable such that he decided to leave.”

Ms Saunders told the jury Mr Dawood's asylum claim had been refused, but that decisions on his status were outside the scope of the inquest.

She said jurors would have to decide if the visit from immigration officers “complied with rules and procedures and, if there were any variations, whether this was a reasonable cause of action”.

Ms Saunders added: “In the event there were any facts that contributed to Mustafa's death, it will be up to you to determine what they were.”

The officers arrived at the Shaftesbury Hand Car Wash in Newport at 10.08am on the day of Mr Dawood's death.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of him being pursued through buildings on the Albany Trading Estate, minutes before he was found on the floor of a warehouse with fatal head injuries.

Mr Dawood was taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff but was pronounced dead at 2.45pm.

His mother said he had previously told her “everything was OK” in the UK, and that he was learning English and playing football with friends in his free time.

“Mustafa was very close to me and his dad and he loved his siblings very much, he loved football and he was a good and loyal friend,” she added.

“He told me he had made lots of friends in the UK – he was popular wherever he went so this did not surprise me.”

Ms Ahmed said her son had wanted to earn money to send back to Sudan to support his family. The inquest continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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