The Daily Telegraph
Criminal went on to kill after deportation flight blocked
PRITI PATEL has condemned the “absolutely appalling” failure to deport a criminal who then murdered a man after his flight was blocked.
The former home secretary said she was heavily involved in efforts to deport Ernesto Elliott, 45, to Jamaica in 2020.
He was sentenced to life in prison last month for robbing and fatally stabbing Nathaniel Eyewu-ago, 35, in Greenwich, south London, in June 2021.
The killer was one of the passengers due to be aboard a flight chartered by the Home Office to deport criminals that was blocked due to last-ditch legal appeals in December 2020.
The flight would have deported 50 criminals convicted of violent, sexual or drug offences, but this was whittled down to four by legal challenges.
The appeals claimed the passengers’ human rights had been breached or they were victims of modern slavery. It is unclear which argument was used in Elliott’s case, but he had received three years for possessing a knife in public.
It came after Naomi Campbell, Thandiwe Newton and Naomie Harris signed an open letter urging airlines not to comply with Home Office deportation flight requests. Another letter, sent to Ms Patel by Labour MPS including Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary, called for the flight to be scrapped and said the deportation epitomised the “hostile environment” agenda which led to the “inhumane treatment of the Windrush generation”.
Yesterday, Ms Patel said: “We came up against various specialist immigration lawyers, Labour MPS but also a range of celebrities who for some rea- son thought they should stop a deportation flight of Jamaican foreign national offenders. That was completely wrong. Individuals who were supposed to go on that plane had a range of criminal convictions – murderers, rapists and people who had done horrible things to children. It was right they should have been deported. It is absolutely appalling that this person was taken off and went on to commit a murder.”
On June 2 2021, Elliott and his son Nico, 23, robbed Eyewu-ago of drugs and money before stabbing him in broad daylight. He died six days later.
The father and son were found guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey. Elliott, of Walthamstow, was jailed with a minimum term of 26 years for murder, with a concurrent 12-year sentence for robbery, while his son Nico was jailed for at least 22 years for murder, along with a concurrent 10-year sentence for robbery.