A prolific offender used a legal loophole to avoid being deported before stabbing another man to death in a terrifying machete fight in south London, it has emerged. Jamaican citizen Ernesto Elliott, 45, was due to be kicked out of the country after committing a total of 17 crimes, including possession of an imitation firearm, since arriving in the UK in 2003.
However, his lawyers lodged a last-ditch appeal, referencing Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, offering “respect for private and family life”, arguing deportation would breach his rights by separating him from his UK-based relatives.
However, six months after he was due to be deported in December 2020, he, along with son Nico, 23, ironically one of the members of the family referenced in his appeal, was convicted of the murder of 35-year-old Nathaniel Eyewu-Ago.
Ernesto Elliot’s arguments using Article 8 had already been turned down by the Home Office when he applied for asylum for the second time in the early 2010s, it is believed.
His arrest after the fatal attack is understood to have meant the legal challenge which blocked his removal from Britain was never the subject of a full legal ruling.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell, actress Thandiwe Newton and historian Professor David Olusoga are among those who signed an open letter against the flight to Jamaica on which Ernesto Elliot was due to travel.
A separate letter was also sent by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti.
In 2018, Elliott was jailed for three years for possession of an imitation firearm and a knife.
Additionally, he was in breach of a suspended sentence and had convictions for other knife and drug offences.
In accordance with immigration laws introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour Government in 2007, the Home Secretary is required to make a deportation order against foreign criminals sent to prison for 12 months or longer.
Both Ernesto and Nico Elliot were last month jailed for life at the Old Bailey for the murder, committed in Greenwich, South London, the former being handed a minimum sentence of 26 years, the latter 22 years.
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Shocking video footage showed the pair, together with another man, attacking Mr Eyewu-Ago with long-bladed knives and a hammer while he lashed out with a machete following a row over drugs.
Mr Eyewu-Ago was stabbed through the heart and collapsed, dying in hospital six days later.
The British taxpayer is facing an estimated bill in excess of £1.3million to keep Ernesto Elliot in jail.
Speaking at an event organised by the Policy Exchange think tank earlier this week, for Home Secretary Priti Patel deplore the failure to deport him.
She said: “I was heavily involved in that as home secretary at the time, and I’m afraid, as ever, we came up against various specialist immigration lawyers, Labour MPs but also celebrities who for some reason thought that they should stop a deportation flight of foreign national offenders going back to Jamaica, and that was completely wrong.
“So I’m afraid it is absolutely appalling that individual who should have been on the plane basically was taken off the flight and went on to commit murder.”
Current Home Secretary Suella Braverman tweeted: “This murderer should have been deported on a flight out of this country in 2020 but the courts blocked his removal after dozens of Labour MPs cried out it was an injustice. So much for their pledge to keep Britain’s streets safe.”
Home Office minister Chris Philp said: “As Immigration Minister in Dec 2020 I tried to deport this dangerous criminal. But Labour MPs and various celebrities (including Naomi Campbell, Thandiwe Newton, Naomie Harris and David Olusoga) opposed the flight and most criminals were taken off the flight following legal challenges.
“Months later, the man subsequently brutally murdered one of our fellow citizens. Labour MPs and virtue-signalling celebrities should think again.”
Express.co.uk has approached the Labour Party for comment.
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