David Barrett, London Telegraph, January 23, 2010
An Iraqi immigrant who stabbed two doctors to death has won the right to stay in Britain after a judge ruled that he would pose a danger to the public in his homeland.
An immigration tribunal decided that Laith Alani, a paranoid schizophrenic, should not be deported to Iraq because it would breach his human rights and put people there at risk.
Alani has spent the past 19 years in a secure hospital after he killed two NHS consultants in a frenzied attack because he believed he had received a “command from Allah”.
The Home Office wanted to deport him on his release to protect the British public, but he appealed to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) where a panel led by Lance Waumsley, a senior immigration judge, ruled that he could remain in the UK.
The widows of the two doctors, who were not informed of the killer’s legal victory or the plans to release him back into society until they were contacted by The Sunday Telegraph, expressed their shock at the decision.
One of the reasons given by the judges is that if Alani was sent back to Iraq he would be unlikely to receive medicine which keeps his paranoid schizophrenic under control.
They said in their judgement: “If his present treatment . . . were to be discontinued, as would most likely be the case if he were to be removed to Iraq, the potential consequences would be extremely serious for (Alani) himself, and potentially life-threatening for innocent third parties around him in the event of his likely, indeed almost inevitable, relapse into a state of paranoid schizophrenia.”
Alani, now 41, has been receiving the drug clozapine on the NHS for 10 years, and the AIT was told it was the only medication found suitable to treat his mental condition.
The judgement, which was delivered in October but has only just been revealed, also states that deportation would breach the killer’s right to a private and family life because he moved to the UK with his parents as a child.
Alani killed Michael Masser and Kenneth Paton, both consultant cosmetic surgeons, at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in November 1990.
Mr Paton’s widow, Dorothy, who still lives at the home she shared with him in Ossett, near Wakefield, said last night of Alani: “I think he should be deported. I argued that at the time of the trial.
“I think he is going to be a danger to people in Britain. He is a dangerous man.”
Dr Jasmina Masser, who like her late husband specialises in plastic surgery, said: “I am very shocked by this news. I was once very hurt by these events.”
The case comes after The Sunday Telegraph revealed how the AIT regularly overturns attempts by the Home Office to deport foreign criminals at the end of their sentences.
Last year this newspaper disclosed how dangerous offenders from overseas, including killers and paedophiles, had used the Human Rights Act to avoid deportation despite a pledge by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, to remove any foreigner who breaks the law.
Mr Brown said in 2007 that foreigners must “play by the rules or face the consequences”, adding: “If you commit a crime you will be deported from our country.”
Alani had come into contact with the two doctors after being referred to their clinic for removal of a tattoo from his arm–a picture of an eagle above the words “Republic of Iraq”–because he claimed the adornment was against his religion.
He became concerned about how long he would have to wait for the procedure, and even tried to remove the tattoo himself by scraping his arm with a knife.
Mr Masser, 42, was stabbed six times in the throat and chest with a sheath knife. His widow gave birth to son Harry six weeks before Alani’s trial; the couple already had a seven-year-old daughter.
Mr Paton, who was 56, and married with three grown-up children, suffered 24 stab wounds in the chest and abdomen.
The surgeons’ bodies were discovered by Mr Paton’s secretary, Pamela Mackay, when blood was seen coming from underneath the door of a consulting room.
After his arrest, Alani told detectives: “It was a command from Allah. I have had visions from Allah and you can’t be more right than Allah.”
He told police he believed one of the doctors was Satan and one was Lucifer, and said he had added their names to a death list which also included James Whale, the broadcaster, who had earlier ‘cut off’ Alani during a radio phone-in during which he expressed anti-Semitic views.
At his trial at Leeds Crown Court in 1991, Alani, who was unemployed and living in Wakefield at the time of the crimes, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was sent to Rampton maximum security hospital indefinitely.
But he was transferred to a smaller “regional secure unit” in 2005.
The AIT said that in 2008, as part of his “staged preparation for his intended release into normal society”, Alani was moved again, this time to a 12-bed residential care home which operates as a “therapeutic community” for people with mental health problems.
He could be set free next year.