RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: One-legged Albanian KILLER on benefits (even I couldn't make him up)
Fifteen years ago I published a novel, To Hell In A Handcart. One of the central characters was a Romanian gangster who entered Britain illegally and posed as a 16-year-old asylum seeker to gain the right to stay here.
Having stowed away in a lorry from France, he was dumped at a motorway service area in Kent, where he was briefly interviewed by police and directed to the immigration centre at Croydon.
He claimed to be 16 because it was well known that the British authorities were a soft touch and would never deport a minor.
Whistles have been banned on the grounds that they sound 'too aggressive' at a school in Milton Keynes, writes Richard Littlejohn in the story below
Double killer: Albanian Saliman Barci has been granted legal aid to fight an extradition request for him to return to his native country to serve a 25-year prison sentence
At Croydon, a bored immigration officer made no attempt to check his story and allocated him a place at a hostel in Tottenham, North London, where he enjoyed free board and lodging and received weekly benefit payments. Soon he had teamed up with an Albanian girl he met at the hostel and embarked on a crime spree.
Predictably, the Guardianistas were horrified. How dare I suggest that any asylum seeker could be bogus, or that an Eastern European migrant might be capable of committing a crime in this country?
The book was set against a background of rising immigration, a corrupt legal system and a police force crippled by political correctness, in a generous welfare state where the rights of criminals outweigh those of victims and society as a whole.
These days it reads more like a documentary than a work of fiction. So much so that I’ve been thinking of republishing it.
What’s just given the idea fresh impetus is the story of the one-legged Albanian murderer who has been granted legal aid to fight extradition from Britain.
In Saturday’s Mail, Stephen Wright reported that 41-year-old Saliman Barci was using human rights law to avoid being sent home to face justice. Barci could have stepped straight from the pages of To Hell In A Handcart. He was smuggled into Britain with his Albanian wife in a van from Calais.
Left behind: The apartment block in the Albanian city of Burrel where Barci and one of the murder victims lived
After reporting to Croydon, where he pretended to be an asylum seeker from Kosovo, he was sent to a hostel in Finsbury Park, North London, just down the road from Tottenham. He’s now living in a four-bedroom house at taxpayers’ expense and receives £2,000 a month in benefits.
The wooden leg he had fitted in Albania after a motorbike crash has been replaced with a prosthetic limb on the NHS. Barci has never done a day’s work since he came to this country and supplemented his income by selling cocaine.
His wife insists he confessed to killing two fellow gangsters in northern Albania in 1997 — for which he has been convicted in his absence.
She says he always carried a knife and kept a gun at their West London home. Fleeing prosecution, he arrived here in 2002 with a fake Kosovan identity and subsequently was granted British citizenship.
This is despite the fact that the Home Office has suspected for years that many ‘Kosovan refugees’ who claimed to be escaping from the Balkan war were in fact economic migrants from Albania.
For the past year he has been in an immigration removal centre and is receiving legal aid to fight extradition to his homeland, where he is facing a 25-year jail sentence.
New life: Barci's wife Mimoza Barci showing off the family's four-bed housing association house. They posed as Kosovan refugees to gain British citizenship and have lived rent free in the £560-a-month property
Barci claims sending him back would be in breach of Articles 2 (Right to life), 3 (Ban on torture), and 8 (Right to a family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also objects to prison conditions in Albania, alleges judicial corruption and says his life would be in danger because of a ‘blood feud’.
Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
This case in itself highlights the madness of Britain’s lax border controls, insane interpretation of the Yuman Rites Act and cavalier disregard for taxpayers’ money. But Barci is by no means alone in playing the system.
It has emerged that Albania is trying to extradite a string of murderers from the UK, but it is unlikely any of them will ever be brought to justice because they all have assumed false identities.
Britain is crawling with foreign criminals. The prisons are full of them. Even when they are caught and convicted, few are ever deported at the end of their sentence.
There’s always a legally aided lawyer available to argue that kicking them out would be a terrible violation of their human rights. Last week we learned that a Polish thug who launched a vicious, unprovoked attack on a man at a bus stop in South London has convictions for rape and assault in Poland, and had only been in this country for 48 hours.
Worry: Barci's wife Mimoza (pictured) said she had known hours after the murders her ‘crazy’ husband was guilty. She believes he killed the men in a fit of jealousy, as he believed they had been ‘talking’ to her
We live in a strange, risk-averse society which insists that women who wish to arrange flowers at a Cathedral, or volunteer to help the elderly, are forced to submit to criminal records checks. But foreign murderers, rapists and other undesirables are free to stroll into Britain without any investigation into their background.
As long as they have ID from an EU country, we can’t stop them. If I was writing my novel today, my character wouldn’t have to pretend to be an underage asylum seeker. Now Romania is a member of the European Union, he would be able to come and go as he pleases.
And we all know exactly how Romanian beggars, pickpockets and cashpoint robbers have made such a valuable contribution to the vitality of our richly diverse communities.
If we vote to Remain in four weeks’ time, three million of Saliman Barci’s fellow Albanians will gain unrestricted access to Britain when their country, too, joins the EU.
We will also be locked into accepting the pernicious human rights racket in perpetuity, since it is a condition of EU membership.
Belonging to the EU has made Britain less safe and a magnet for foreign criminals and terrorists.
If, as the polls suggest, we vote to stay, we can’t ever pull up the drawbridge and will be powerless to prevent scum of the earth like Barci from settling here and milking us for every penny they can get.
We are all going to Hell in a handcart.
Not for the first time, my old primary school headmaster Eric Sutton sprang to mind yesterday. What on earth, I wondered, would he have made of the news that a school in Milton Keynes has banned whistles on the grounds that they are ‘too aggressive’.
Staff have traditionally blown whistles to signal the end of playtime. But teachers at St Monica’s Catholic Primary have been told that in future they must raise their hands to indicate to pupils it’s time to go back to the classrooms.
Teaching assistant Pamela Cunningham has criticised the decision, which was taken because children ‘may be afraid of the noise’.
Eric Sutton had a whistle on a string permanently around his neck. He used it to attract attention, to break up fights and to referee impromptu football matches.
It had a fearsome pitch, capable of being heard by every dog and small boy in a five-mile radius.
I can still see him advancing with the whistle to his lips, cheeks puffed out like Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet or Brian Glover’s whistle-happy games master in Kes.
As for children being ‘afraid of the noise’, I always assumed that was the whole point.
Co-op divvies up the divi
The Co-op is reviving its Sixties blue cloverleaf logo and bringing back the ‘divi’. Readers of a certain age will fondly remember the divi — short for dividend — which was distributed twice a year to loyal customers.
It was a rebate on purchases from Co-op stores and services, which ranged from milk rounds and grocery shops to funeral parlours.
I used to queue up with my mum to collect our ‘divi’ before the summer holidays and Christmas. Depending on how much you’d spent, the payback could amount to several pounds. I can even remember our divi account number. It was seven, eight, six, eight.
The Co-op is reviving its Sixties blue cloverleaf logo (pictured) which it abandoned in the noughties
It is also bringing back the ‘divi’. Readers of a certain age will fondly remember the divi — short for dividend — which was distributed twice a year to loyal customers
The Co-op was an altruistic organisation, a giant collective run and operated by its members. The divi was phased out in the Seventies when it became too costly to administer, and the Co-op lost its way in the face of fierce competition from commercial rivals.
These days the organisation is probably best known for the antics of coke-snorting former Co-op bank chairman Paul Flowers, a Methodist lay preacher caught taking horse tranquilliser with rent boys.
So it’s good to see the Co-op returning to its roots. The divi conjures up a distant, gentler age, when ‘community’ meant we were all in it together, before it became shorthand for noisy, grievance-driven minorities.
I suppose it’s too much to ask them to bring back horse-drawn milk floats.
Muirfield golf club has been banned from hosting The Open because it won’t accept women members. Fair enough. But if this decision is about more than just gesture politics, surely the logical extension is to let women play in The Open.
A friend of mine tells me of an incident at a West London golf club. Some ladies were sitting on the terrace when a sliced ball landed in a nearby flower bed. It belonged to the club captain, who was swearing like a trooper as he attempted to retrieve it.
The women complained about his industrial language. An emergency committee meeting was called and resolved that: ‘In future lady members are not allowed to use the terrace.’
Muirfield golf club has been banned from hosting The Open because it won’t accept women members
Today’s edition of Mind How You Go comes from West Yorkshire where police vehicles are sporting the slogan: ‘Working to become dementia friendly.’Why not working to nick villains?
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