A convicted murderer who illegally entered the UK with 68 other Albanian migrants is claiming asylum because he fears he will be killed by the victim’s family in a “blood feud” if he is deported.
The Albanian killer, who shot dead a mother in front of her eight-year-old daughter, is also claiming he is a victim of trafficking after being brought into the UK on a fishing boat for which smugglers were charging up to £3,000 per head, according to court papers seen by The Telegraph.
He has been held in detention since November as he fights deportation at a cost of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer. It has included at least three court hearings where his lawyers have unsuccessfully sought to secure his release despite fears that he will abscond and is a threat to public safety.
The court documents reveal that even while in detention in April, he was caught in possession of a class A drug which was tested and found to be cocaine.
Official inquiries have revealed that as well as the 15-year sentence for murder, he has been jailed for two years for theft in Albania, and 16 months for another unknown offence.
The murderer, who has been granted anonymity by the court, was among 69 Albanians who have been able to remain in the UK after a legal bungle let them off criminal immigration charges.
Their fishing boat was intercepted off the coast of East Anglia on Nov 18 on its way from Belgium in an operation that involved 250 National Crime Agency, police and Border Force officers.
But plans to prosecute them for illegal entry to the UK were abandoned because when arrested they had not yet set foot on British soil – a key criteria under the law.
Within two days of arriving in the UK, the Albanian killer lodged an asylum claim and, according to the court documents, was also emailing the authority that investigates modern slavery in pursuit of a trafficking claim.
It was, however, nearly a full month before his allegations of trafficking were revealed to the UK authorities, at the end of December. The 42-year-old claimed he had been trafficked to Greece as a teenager, and beaten and forced to work there.
The Albanian also alleged he had been a victim of torture, saying he had been bullied and beaten by police officers while in prison.
He served 12 of the 15 years to which he was sentenced for shooting dead the woman in front of her eight-year-old daughter at her home in a central Albanian village.
He arrived in Britain after travelling through Germany, Sweden and then Belgium before taking the fishing boat to the UK.
The case comes as the Government is preparing to overhaul asylum laws and crackdown on illegal migrants by making it easier and quicker to deport them.
A government source said: “Our new plan for immigration means that criminals like this will never make it into the country in the first place and speed up the removal of those who should not be here.”
As the Albanian, known only as AM, was held before the end of the transition period, the more lenient EU laws on deportation require the UK to show that he is a genuine, present and serious threat.
New post-Brexit immigration laws which took effect from Dec 31 bar any EU citizen sentenced to at least a year in prison from the UK. Under the new rules, asylum seekers will also be required to present all their claims in one go, rather than mounting multiple successive appeals.