Asylum seeker accused of raping teenage boy 'goes missing after police move him to hotel but don't take him to room'

16 November 2022, 23:59 | Updated: 17 November 2022, 00:02

The Home Office and police pointed fingers at each other over the "missing" asylum seeker
The Home Office and police pointed fingers at each other over the "missing" asylum seeker. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

An asylum seeker accused of raping a teenage boy has gone missing after being transferred to a hotel.

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Conservative MP Greg Smith said the Metropolitan Police moved the man to a Buckinghamshire hotel after the alleged incident at a Waltham Forest hotel, but did not escort him inside.

He told Parliament he has now gone missing as a Home Officer minister called it a potentially "very concerning incident".

Mr Smith, who represents Buckingham, told the Commons on Wednesday: "Buckinghamshire Council learned third-hand from a London borough just this morning that an asylum seeker who is under investigation for a very serious offence was transferred to the asylum hotel in Buckingham by the Metropolitan Police but was not escorted into the premises and has since gone missing."

He asked for a commitment to catch the man and to keep him in "secured accommodation" while the investigation takes place.

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, said: "That does sound like a very concerning incident, and he has my assurance that I will raise that with the Home Office and indeed with the police and will report back to him."

Read more: 'Depraved' child sex offender lured kids by posing as teenager online and put up missing girls in hotel room

The Met said a 39-year-old man was arrested by officers are reports of a rape at a hotel in Waltham Forest, London, on October 5.

The force said he is now on bail while officers investigate and has been told to report to a police station in January, while claiming the issue of where he lives in the meantime is down to the Home Office.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said reports about the man going missing were "very serious" and "raise some questions" about the Home Office's handling of it.

A Home Office source said: "The bail conditions of this suspect are a matter for the police and we do not have any powers to detain him. There is no evidence he has absconded."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called on Wednesday, October 5 to a report of a rape at a hotel in Waltham Forest.

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"Officers attended and spoke to the victim, a boy in his teens, and his family. Specialist support is being provided to them.

"A 39-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken into custody.

"He is currently on bail pending further enquiries and must return to the police station on a date in early January.

"His accommodation status in the interim period is a matter for the Home Office, not the police."

The case comes amid increased scrutiny on the conditions migrants are held in while their asylum claims are processed.

Soaring attempts at crossing the Channel this year have caused some overcrowding and criticism of conditions at facilities in Kent, and ongoing concerns about the hotels they are moved into.

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