Asylum seeker jailed for illegal work

AN illegal immigrant who got a job at a sheltered housing company in Suffolk by using a fake passport has been jailed for 14 months.

AN illegal immigrant who got a job at a sheltered housing company in Suffolk by using a fake passport has been jailed for 14 months.

Aaron Mutapiri convinced an employer near Woodbridge that he was someone else, but his deception unravelled after he was caught drink-driving.

During the police investigation, it emerged that Mutapiri had altered the photo and name on a Zimbabwean passport after he had outstayed his leave to remain in the UK.

The 31-year-old, now of Wallace Road, Colchester, pleaded guilty to using a fake passport in 2005 and to obtaining a pecuniary advantage by gaining employment by deception.

He also admitted flouting immigration laws while living in Woodbridge.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Mutapiri had fled to Britain in 2001 after his family had been targeted by Robert Mugabe's militia in Zimbabwe.

Most Read

He was given permission to stay in the country for 13 months to study at university, but was told he could not do paid work.

Mutapiri did not pursue his degree course because he could not afford the fees and survived on money sent to him from family in America.

Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said: “He arrived in this country from very difficult circumstances and he reached a point where he needed to gain employment.”

After his leave to remain expired, Mutapiri stayed in the country and found a job as a support worker at the Seckford Foundation in 2005 using a fake passport.

The Seckford Foundation, based in Woodbridge, provides sheltered accommodation for vulnerable people.

But a few months later he was caught asleep at the wheel of his car while he was drunk and was sacked after being convicted of drink-driving and driving while disqualified.

Judge John Devaux said Mutapiri had been “calculated” in his deception and had showed no signs of remorse.

Mutapiri is now seeking asylum, but there are no plans to deport him back to Zimbabwe because of the political turmoil under President Mugabe.

Are immigration laws tough enough? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter