Daily Mail (London), May 26, 2006
A frustrated judge has admitted he was unable to order the deportation of a brutal rapist because the foreign criminal had been granted leave in Britain indefinitely.
The Somalian drug addict was allowed to remain in the country indefinitely while serving a jail sentence for attempted armed robbery, the Old Bailey heard today.
Unknown to immigration authorities at the time, Yonis Dirie had also raped a woman waiting at a bus stop four years earlier.
Justice caught up with Dirie today when he was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to raping his victim, now 37, as she was returning from a night out with friends.
But Dirie is not expected to face deportation at the end of his sentence because he was granted indefinite leave to remain here in 1994.
Judge Gerald Gordon QC, had asked whether he could recommend the 40-year-old be deported for what he described as “a truly horrendous crime”.
However, he was told Dirie could not be sent home unless the Home Secretary intervenes.
Speaking of Dirie’s sanctuary in Britain he described it as “a humanitarian gesture that you grossly abused by your conduct”.
Dirie was arrested last year after a cold case rape investigation by the Metropolitan Police linked him to the attack by advances in DNA science.
His DNA was taken after he was arrested for possession of a bladed article. It linked him to the rape in Stratford, east London in January 1990.
Dirie from West Kensington, west London, has accumulated a string of convictions since his arrival in Britain in 1984 at the age of 18, the court was told.
After he was led to cells, Dirie’s victim said she was shocked to hear of his history. “He is here with the blessing of the authorities. Today it would not be surprising but this was over 20 years ago.”
She had heard Judge Gerald Gordon describe the attack on her a “a truly horrendous crime.”
Dirie had raped her with another, unknown man. Afterwards they tossed her over a wall in panic — knowing there was a canal below where she could easily have drowned, said the judge.
“She describes the attack as ruining the whole period of her 20s and 30s. She feels now she has finally come to terms — but what happened to her that night she feels, understandably, has devastated her life and that of her family and friends.”
As she left court, Miss A said: “Now I just want to get on with my life.”
His previous convictions and immigration history was read out in court by prosecutor Alan Kent.
Dirie arrived in the UK in October 1984 from Somalia. He was given leave to enter as a visitor for one month.
The Home Office then received a letter asking leave to remain. He was interviewed, but in February 1986, his application was refused. His appeal was also refused.
But Dirie was then given a year to remain. A year later he was allowed another year and in 1988, granted a further “exceptional” year leave to remain.
In February 1994 he was given the indefinite status.
In 1991 he had been put on two years probation for burglary. A month later he was ordered to do 200 hours community service for another burglary offence.
In March the following year, Dirie was fined £250 for possessing an offensive weapon. The following month he was put on probation for 18 months for obstructing police.
The next month he received a suspended 15 month jail sentence for burglary — with a supervision order.
The next year he was given four and a half years for the attempted robbery with a shotgun.
In February 1997, Dirie was fined for theft. In May that year he was put on probation for two years — again for theft.
That July he was jailed for six months for deception. Then came the arrest for possession of a blade which led to his DNA match.
Judge Gordon said that if drugs or drink had played a part in the rape it was no mitigation. He had heard that Dirie had been accepted for in-patient treatment for drug abuse shortly before his arrest.