Last November, residents of Bradford were shocked to hear of the murder of policewoman Sharon Beshenivsky and the attempted murder of her female colleague. They had been called to an Asian travel agents and, as they arrived at the scene, were gunned down by armed raiders.
Not long afterwards, police were able to name three men in connection with the shooting, Somali-born Yusuf Jama, 19, his brother Mustaf (aka Mustafa) Jama, 25, and 24-year-old Asian, Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah (British-born in Burnley).
Yusuf Jama and Shah are in custody, have appeared in court and have been remanded in custody until their trial. Mustaf Jama, however, is still at large and police are unsure even that he is in the country.
However, it now turns out that Mustaf has something of a history. He entered Britain in 2000 as an asylum seeker and was given “leave to remain”, for seven years.
Showing a true sense of gratitude for the generosity of his adoptive country, Mustaf then embarked on an unrestrained criminal career, being described by the authorities as a "serial offender", finally to have been caught and convicted in July 2001 for an armed robbery in Sheffield. The Count handed down a sentence of three years and, having served half of it, Mustaf was released in January 2003.
Apparently, then living now with his brother and mother in North Kensington, who had also come to England, from Holland, he remained "known to the police”, then becoming involved in the Bradford shootings.
On the basis of his criminal career and sentence, he should have been marked down for deportation on completion of his sentence. Thus, it appeared, that he was one of the 1000-plus criminals who had been released into the community by the Home Office without checks.
At first sight, this could have finished the embattled home secretary's career, having let loose a cop-killer. But never fear - with one bound, Charles Clarke was free. We are now told by the Home Office (whom we believe completely) that Mustaf was considered for deportation. So that's alright then.
On review of his case, though, it was decided that he could not be sent back to Somalia because of the political instability there and, in any case, there were no direct flights to the country, by which he could be sent.
Thus, a known and dangerous criminal was let loose on society, with the tragic consequences of which we are now only too aware. And they wonder why people are considering voting for the BNP?
According to The Times, Home Office say Mustaf's deportation case was considered in spring last year. Since he completed his prison sentence in January 2003, that means it must have been considered more than two years after he had been released. Er...?
The Daily Telegraph tells us that, in May 2001, Mustaf was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court to 15 months in prison for aggravated vehicle taking and road traffic offences. It was two months later, the paper adds, that he was jailed for three years at Sheffield Crown Court for two offences of robbery.
Thus, when he was released from jail in 2003, he was not considered for deportation. It was only after he had been given another three months at Harrow magistrates' court for burglary in February last year, that he was finally considered for deportation. As we now know, that was rejected. And, in the November, he struck again.
The Telegraph adds that all four Bradford area Labour MPs, including Gerry Sutcliffe, the consumer affairs minister, confronted Mr Clarke at the Commons yesterday and warned him that they would demand his resignation today unless he came up with a full explanation of the Jama case.
Terry Rooney, the MP for Bradford North, is reported as saying: "We told him that, unless we are satisfied with his answers, the people of Bradford will demand his resignation."
It has also emerged that detailed rules about deporting foreign prisoners were issued to prison governors 13 months ago. But the Home Office was mistakenly freeing foreign criminals for a year while the rules should have been in force.