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Unseen photos show Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi being baptised after converting to Christianity – as it’s revealed church backed his bid to gain asylum despite his sex offence conviction

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Extraordinary unseen photos show Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi being baptised after converting to Christianity – as it emerged the church backed his bid to gain asylum despite his sex offence conviction. 

Abdul Ezedi was considered so dangerous by the Baptist Church it drew up a ‘safeguarding contract’ for the safety of parishioners over his sex assault and exposure convictions.

Despite requesting him to sign the seven-point document barring him from entering the church alone, a Baptist minister still advocated on Ezedi’s behalf. Images show him being baptised and handing out Christian leaflets in Newcastle. 

Ezedi was found to have ‘not been honest in several aspects of his account’ by the asylum judge who heard his appeal to stay in the UK.

In spite of his concerns Judge William O’Hanlon allowed Ezedi’s appeal on asylum and human rights grounds, overturning the Home Office‘s decision not to grant him leave to remain.

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi is baptised at a church in Jarrow

Ezedi's head is pushed under the water as he is baptised as a Christian

Ezedi’s head is pushed under the water as he is baptised as a Christian 

A character reference for Ezedi that was supplied as part of his asylum application

A character reference for Ezedi that was supplied as part of his asylum application 

The Afghan suspect secured the churches¿ support despite being a convicted sex attacker. Pictured: In CCTV after the attack

The Afghan suspect secured the churches’ support despite being a convicted sex attacker. Pictured: In CCTV after the attack

Judge O’Hanlon conceded while Ezedi, 35, had been discredited on multiple occasions, he was requested to allow the appeal on the strength of the intervention from a Baptist Church minister.

Reverend Roy Merrin wrote to the tribunal in support of Ezedi and also gave evidence in person to his hearing at the First Tier Tribunal, in October 2020.

Judge O’Hanlon later concluded Rev Merrin had provided ‘the most compelling evidence’ Ezedi had converted to Christianity and would therefore be at risk if he were returned to Afghanistan.

Ezedi was subject to a nationwide manhunt last month after he allegedly poured chemicals on his former partner and her children. His body was later found in the Thames.

The judges remarks come as a series of documents were released shedding light on Ezedi’s battle to stay in the UK.

The Daily Mail fought for the documents used to support Ezedi’s asylum case to be revealed. They show:

  • The asylum judge who granted Ezedi leave to remain criticised the ‘honesty’ of his claim
  • The Baptist Church drew up a safeguarding contract for Ezedi after it learned of his sex assault convictions
  • Ezedi sent the asylum and immigration tribunal photos of his baptism and handing out leaflets in a bid to support his claim
  • He was supported by a Baptist minister who attended court multiple times to advocate for asylum seekers
  • The Catholic Church also wrote in support of Ezedi – after previously denying it

In his judgement Judge O’Hanlon criticised Ezedi over the changing basis of his claim – at one point Ezedi claimed his brother had been shot and killed but later claimed he was killed by a bomb.

He also sought to claim his family in Afghanistan were at risk over his conversion to Christianity, although failed to explain how they would have known he had converted.

Ezedi originally claimed he was a Shia Muslim, before telling the tribunal he was a Sunni.

Judge O’Hanlan said: ‘It is the case that I find the Appellant has not been honest in several aspects of his account referred to herein.

‘The Tribunal is not unfamiliar with the difficulties created by Appellants who have not been truthful but who may still be at risk.

‘We must be very careful not to dismiss an appeal just because an Appellant has told lies.

‘Having considered all the evidence before me in the round, notwithstanding my concerns as to the honesty of the Appellant in relation to certain aspects of his account, I find the Appellant had been consistent in his evidence with regard to his conversion to Christianity.’

The judge’s decision was swung following the evidence of Rev Merrin, a now retired vicar at Grange Road Baptist Church, in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

Ezedi hands out Christian leaflets to shoppers in Newcastle. He was twice refused permission to remain in the UK

Ezedi hands out Christian leaflets to shoppers in Newcastle. He was twice refused permission to remain in the UK 

The extraordinary pictures emerged for the first time today

The extraordinary pictures emerged for the first time today 

Photos show the asylum seeker handing out leaflets near the Monument in Newcastle

Photos show the asylum seeker handing out leaflets near the Monument in Newcastle 

Ezedi walks around Hay's Galleria on the South Bank in London

Ezedi walks around Hay’s Galleria on the South Bank in London 

Reverend Roy Merrin wrote to the tribunal in support of Ezedi and also gave evidence in person to his hearing at the First Tier Tribunal, in October 2020

Reverend Roy Merrin wrote to the tribunal in support of Ezedi and also gave evidence in person to his hearing at the First Tier Tribunal, in October 2020

Rev Merrin had told the tribunal he was aware of fraudulent asylum claims but told the tribunal he believed Ezedi had been honest – Rev Merrin had previously advocated on behalf of four other asylum seekers.

In additional to his oral evidence, Rev Merrin submitted a letter to the tribunal which said ‘Abdul has established a good relationship with the other Church members and is always willing to help’.

He added: ‘Abdul has been ready to share his faith in Christ with non-Christians… I would support his application to remain in this country.’

Ezedi’s claim was also supported by the Catholic Church – a letter sent from the Dioceses of Hexham and Newcastle Justice and Peace Refugee Project confirmed it gave him money each month.

The Mail exclusively revealed at the beginning of last month how Ezedi had received support from the Baptist and Catholic churches.

A source quote close to Home Secretary James Cleverly said churches had suffered damage to their reputations by initially denying they had contact with Ezedi.

‘The Home Secretary called a meeting with the vast majority of senior representatives of Christian denominations in this country in the wake of the appalling attack this man carried out, and the role Christian conversion had played in an asylum tribunal when the Home Office had turned him down twice,’ the source said.

‘We wanted to relay the potential damage to those churches of being seen, rightly or wrongly, as acting against the integrity of our asylum system where Christian conversion has been brought up at appeal.

‘In this case the consequences were appalling.

‘That reputational risk is only amplified by the fact some who denied knowledge of Ezedi at the time had in fact known of him within their church, and had supported and vouched for him.’

Ezedi arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2016 and had twice been refused asylum by 2018

Ezedi arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2016 and had twice been refused asylum by 2018

A reference from a Baptist chapel in the North East, where Ezedi was living, was crucial in persuading an immigration tribunal that he had converted from Islam to Christianity. He's pictured out shopping in Newcastle

A reference from a Baptist chapel in the North East, where Ezedi was living, was crucial in persuading an immigration tribunal that he had converted from Islam to Christianity. He’s pictured out shopping in Newcastle 

The Baptist Church was seriously concerned about the danger posed by Ezedi to other parishioners, as the documents sent to the tribunal reveal.

A ‘Safeguarding Contract’ drawn up by the Baptist Church’s local and regional safeguarding officers sheds light on the concerns held over Ezedi, but it supported his asylum claim anyway.

Ezedi was forced to sign the seven-point document after the discovery of his sexual assault and exposure convictions, in 2018.

It banned Ezedi from entering the Church in Jarrow ‘without one of my male supporters being present’ and confirming ‘I shall not sit alone in the church at any time’.

Other documents showed Ezedi was using the Baptist Church in Jarrow as his registered address for correspondence concerning his asylum claim.

Ezedi even sent photos to the tribunal taken from his Baptism as well as handing out leaflets in Newcastle city centre he claimed were spreading the Christian word.

The Baptist Church said last night the issues of Ezedi’s asylum claim and safeguarding concerns were separate.

A spokesperson for the Baptist Union of great Britain said: ‘Baptists Together did not corporately support or sponsor Abdul Ezedi’s asylum application.

‘A personal letter of support commenting solely on Abdul Ezedi’s observed faith journey was written by a retired Baptist Minister.

‘The safeguarding contract was a separate issue and was agreed between the church and Abdul Ezedi with guidance from local and regional safeguarding leads using our national template document of the time.

‘This was to show the church had sufficiently risk assessed Abdul Ezedi’s attendance at church, ensuring the safety of the congregation and considering if it was appropriate for him to attend.

‘The Home Office make the final decision on asylum applications and have access to full criminal records data to enable them to do this.’

Rev Merrin said last night: ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you.’

The Catholic Church was contacted for comment.



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