“I’d rather be dead than deported”

Allen (not his real name) is currently detained in the UK.


Allen was sent to the UK in 1984 by his grandmother in Jamaica when he was 6, because she was unwell and could no longer care for him; his father had been murdered and his mother abandoned him.


This was in 1984 and he was sent to live with his aunty and uncle in the UK, and at age 9 he was granted indefinite leave to remain.


He was placed into the care system when he was 12. He had a “troubled childhood” and had a few minor moments of contact with the police in his late teens/early twenties (e.g. convicted for stealing a bicycle wheel when he was 24).


He had two children when he was quite young and was estranged from their mother but maintained regular contact with his sons. In 2013, the mother of his young sons called him distressed, worried that one of their sons was out taking part in the rioting that happened in the summer of 2013, following the police shooting of Mark Duggen.


Allen immediately went out to look for his son; he was filmed leaving a looted shop completely empty handed (it was just one of the places he had been searching) – yet he was later picked up on the basis on the CCTV footage and charged.


His duty solicitor told him that it would be easier for him to plead guilty and that he would only get a suspended sentence, but like so many caught up in the riots, who were swept up in a racist witch-hunt in the months following, he was sentenced to the outrageous, punitive and political sentence of 16 months.


It was this that led to his deportation order.


Allen has spent nearly his whole life in the UK, he has no family or friends in Jamaica and his sons who he loves dearly are here in the UK. He is seriously ill and not getting the medical tests and care he needs in detention.


Allen is seriously depressed and suicidal, he is determined that he will not be deported to a place he does not know, away from his sons, he says that he would rather be dead.