Liverpool suicide bomber lied to stay in UK six years before attack

24 January 2022, 06:34 | Updated: 24 January 2022, 12:53

The Liverpool bomber's asylum claim was dismissed more than six years before he tried to carry out the attack
Liverpool suicide bomber lied to stay in UK six years before attack. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Newly obtained court documents reveal the Liverpool bomber's asylum claim was dismissed more than six years before he tried to carry out the attack.

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Emad Al Swealmeen died from the blast and subsequent fire after his homemade bomb detonated in a taxi outside Liverpool Women's Hospital shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday. Nobody else died in the incident.

Court documents have revealed the Iraqi-born 32-year-old falsely claimed to be of Syrian heritage in his asylum applications.

He came to the UK in May 2014 legally, with a Jordanian passport and UK visa but his asylum claim was later rejected.

Swealmeen challenged the Home Office decision by lodging an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal but this was dismissed in 2015, a copy of the ruling obtained following requests from the BBC - supported by the PA news agency - and The Times show.

The decision dated April 16, 2015, after a hearing in Manchester three days earlier, detailed how Al Swealmeen had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Home Office officials decided he had not established a "well-founded fear of persecution so that he did not qualify for asylum" and had not demonstrated "substantial grounds" to qualify for humanitarian protection.

He had been informed of the "decision to remove him from the United Kingdom", the court papers said.

The judge noted there were "a number of problems" with his evidence and, considering Al Swealmeen's credibility, said: "I find that the appellant has attempted to give an account to put himself in the best light...

"In view of all the evidence, I reject his account of events in Syria and his fears on his return in their entirety, and dismiss his asylum appeal."

Al Swealmeen did not attend the hearing. The solicitors initially representing him had withdrawn from the case and asked to be removed from the record.

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Born in Baghdad, he had been in prison in the Middle East for a serious assault, as well as being convicted previously in Liverpool of possession of an offensive weapon.

Al Swealmeen was still a practicing Muslim despite converting to Christianity once in the UK, the coroner's court was told.

He lived at Home Office-provided accommodation in Sutcliffe Street, in the Kensington area of Liverpool, but since April had rented a self-contained flat in Rutland Avenue, the inquest heard.

Officials confirmed that in January last year Al Swealmeen launched another first-tier tribunal appeal which was still outstanding at the time of the attack, suggesting he had recently submitted a fresh asylum claim to the Home Office which had also been rejected.