A Muslim community leader who falsely claimed he had been kidnapped by members of the British National Party was exposed last night as a suspected benefits cheat who was in this country illegally.
Noor Ramjanally, 36, told police that racist thugs had abducted him at knifepoint and threatened him with violence.
But his account was exposed as a lie by cameras fitted secretly outside his flat after earlier claims that he had received racist hate mail and that the family’s home had been firebombed.
Footage revealed that on the day of the alleged kidnapping Ramjanally had left home by himself, and police established that he wandered around a branch of Homebase before dialling 999.
Yesterday he was given a two-year jail term after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.
However he was not in court–he had fled back to his native Mauritius after admitting he was in this country illegally, staying on after his tourist visa expired.
Before his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, he sent police a taunting email from the Indian Ocean island, telling them: ‘I am enjoying the sun.’
The authorities will now decide whether to seek his extradition to Britain to serve his sentence.
It also emerged that both Ramjanally and his wife, Soulma Nusrally, are being investigated on suspicion of benefit fraud.
The court heard that Ramjanally ran Muslim prayer sessions at a hall in Loughton, Essex, at a time when the BNP was targeting the area with leaflets, increasing local tensions.
In July and August last year he claimed to have received racist hate mail warning him to stop hosting the group and to have suffered an arson attack at the home where he lived with his wife and son.
Unknown to Ramjanally, police installed two covert CCTV cameras outside his block of flats.
On August 24 he rang 999 claiming he had been abducted, later saying two BNP supporters had seized him at knifepoint and bundled him into the back of a vehicle.
He said they told him: ‘We don’t want Loughton Islamic Group in Loughton’ before releasing him on the edge of Epping Forest.
However camera footage showed him getting into a taxi at the time of the alleged kidnap.
He had also been caught on camera at the local Homebase, and he was arrested.
Ramjanally was bailed to await his trial and in February he fled to Mauritius, from where he originally came to Britain on a six-month tourist visa in 1999.
When officials from the UK Border Agency raided his flat they discovered fake passports and other ID documents.
Passing sentence, Judge Karen Walden-Smith said it was impossible to say whether Ramjanally concocted his story to increase tension in the community, for his own vanity, or a bit of both.
Last night it emerged that Ramjanally is being investigated for falsely claiming benefits and allegedly stealing money from a mosque.
His wife is also being investigated for allegedly stating that she was a single mother to claim benefits including income support and housing benefit.
[An earlier story on this case from last year can be read here.]