Home Office loses Chindamo appeal

The Home Office has lost its appeal to have the murderer of headmaster Philip Lawrence deported back to his native Italy upon release.

Learco Chindamo was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996 for stabbing Philip Lawrence outside the school gates, as the headmaster attempted to break up a fight.

Having served his minimum sentence, Chindamo will be eligible for parole next year.

Last month, a tribunal ruled Chindamo could not be deported to his home country of Italy on completion of his prison sentence, as doing so would breach his human rights.

Frances Lawrence was appalled by this decision and the Home Office stepped in to defend her, claiming the law should protect her right to family life, which would be disrupted if her husband’s killer was allowed to remain in the UK.

But today the Asylum and Immigration tribunal rejected the Home Office’s appeal.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “We are very disappointed by the determination.

“The Home Office believes the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal provided insufficient detail to justify rejecting deportation in this case and gave insufficient weight to the seriousness of Chindamo’s original offence when deciding whether he remains a threat to society.

“Foreign nationals who commit serious crimes should be automatically deported.”

Mr Chindamo moved to the UK as a child with his family, who continue to reside here.

Mr Byrne insisted this was not the end of the legal battle, claiming the Home Office would bring the case before the High Court to have the decision reconsidered.

At the time of the initial ruling last month, David Cameron argued the case highlighted the need for a fundamental review of human rights legislation and suggested replacing the Human Rights Act with a “British Bill of Rights”.

Mrs Lawrence has not yet commented on the development.