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Jamaican man to be deported from UK after previous attempt was halted by fellow passengers

<span>Deportations to Jamaica are particularly controversial because some of those deported have lived in the UK since childhood and some are Windrush descendants.</span><span>Photograph: Adam Davy/PA</span>
Deportations to Jamaica are particularly controversial because some of those deported have lived in the UK since childhood and some are Windrush descendants.Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

A Jamaican man whose deportation was halted last November after passengers on a BA flight from Gatwick to Kingston protested when they witnessed him being restrained on board, is due to be deported on Sunday.

Lawrence Morgan, 27, has convictions for serious firearms and drugs offences. During the Home Office’s attempt to deport him last November, passengers on the flight protested after seeing him being restrained by escorts at the back of the plane.

Morgan spoke to the Guardian while detained in Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick airport on Saturday and again while en route to the airport on Sunday morning.

He claimed escorts taking him to the airport had used excessive force against him and said he was being escorted by armed police. He is due to fly on a Norse Atlantic Airlines commercial passenger flight due to take off from Gatwick to fly to Montego Bay at noon on Sunday.

Deportations to Jamaica are particularly controversial because some of those deported have lived in the UK since childhood and some are Windrush descendants.

While Morgan’s criminal convictions are serious, he arrived in the UK at the age of six and has lived most of his life here. He said: “All my family are here. I don’t know anybody in Jamaica and believe my life will be at risk there. It is my daughter’s eighth birthday today. I promised her a present but instead I can’t even see her on her birthday.”

On a previous deportation flight to Jamaica an agreement was made between the Jamaican authorities and the UK government that people who have lived in the UK since childhood would not be deported.

Hannah Gaffey, the woman who raised concerns about Morgan’s deportation when she witnessed him being restrained on the November 2023 flight said that she had concerns about the plans to deport him.

“Somebody who has lived in the UK since they were six years old should not be deported to a country they have no connection to. Lawrence has served his time in prison and deserves the right to start his life again, like any other person with convictions. I am extremely concerned about his safety on return to Jamaica as other deportees returned there have been killed.”

The home secretary, James Cleverly, criticised Gaffey and others on the November flight as “do gooders”.

The Home Office, Norse Atlantic and the Jamaica High Commission have been approached for comment.

The Home Office previously used charter flights to deport people to Jamaica but these were controversial due to issues of Windrush. According to Home Office freedom of information data, planned deportation charters to Jamaica in 2022 and 2023 were cancelled.

Morgan said that during the previous attempt to deport him he was dragged to the plane and sustained a number of injuries while he was restrained on the flight.