ONE of the country?s most wanted men, who is being sought over the murder of a woman police officer, is a foreign criminal who could have been expelled from Britain or detained as an illegal immigrant.
Mustaf Jama, a key suspect in the killing of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky, is a Somali asylum-seeker who was released into the community in 2003 after serving a jail sentence for robbery.
Home Office sources admitted last night that Mr Jama, 26, was ?a persistent offender? but said that he could not be deported because war-torn Somalia was too dangerous.
Instead, as first disclosed by Times Online, he remained in the UK and allegedly became a member of the gang that shot dead Mrs Beshenivsky after a robbery at a travel agency in Bradford, West Yorkshire, last November.
The Home Office insisted that Mr Jama was not on its list of 1,023 missing foreign criminals. But the fact that he was a known criminal in breach of his immigration conditions who allegedly murdered a policewoman will intensify the pressure on Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary.
Mr Clarke must face the House of Commons over the prisoner deportation scandal again today with Mr Jama?s case raising wider questions about the entire system for monitoring foreign offenders.
Support for Mr Clarke among backbench Labour MPs was described last night as ?flaky? and doubts about his ability to stay in office were growing.
Police sources said it was ironic that while the Home Office refused to expel Mr Jama, it was now believed he had fled Britain of his own accord to avoid a murder charge.
Stanley Jagger, Mrs Beshenivsky?s father, told The Times that he could no longer trust Mr Clarke or anyone else in the Government.
?I can?t understand it,? said Mr Jagger, 62. ?This shouldn?t happen. This man should have been picked up or sent out of the country. I?ve voted Labour all my life, but not this time. I?m really sick about what has happened.?
Mr Clarke will update MPs on what progress has been made in tracing the missing former prisoners ? including murderers, rapists and paedophiles ? who have been released without being considered for deportation. He admitted last week that at least five of the most dangerous convicts had reoffended.
Mr Jama arrived in Britain in 2000 and immediately made an application for asylum. He claimed that he was from Somalia, gave immigration officials a birthdate of March 1980 and was granted indefinite leave to remain.
But he broke the conditions of his stay in Britain when he was involved in a spate of robberies in Sheffield in February 2001.
Mr Jama was arrested and pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery before Sheffield Crown Court in July 2001. At the time he gave an address in the Yardley area of Birmingham.
Mr Jama was jailed for three years but was released in 2003 after serving eighteen months.