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A Jamaican offender used the ‘right to family life’ to dodge deportation before going on to commit murder, it can be revealed.

Ernesto Elliott was a prolific offender with 17 crimes on his rap sheet including possession of an imitation firearm.

But following interventions by celebrities and Labour MPs, his lawyers lodged a last-minute legal challenge under Article 8 of the European human rights convention against a Home Office bid to deport him.

The challenge claimed it would breach his rights to be separated from his UK-based family, including son Nico, then 21, who went on to be convicted alongside his father of a horrific knife murder.

Ernesto Elliott, right, killed Nathaniel Eyewu-Ago in a gruesome knife fight in Greenwich

Ernesto Elliott, right, killed Nathaniel Eyewu-Ago in a gruesome knife fight in Greenwich

Ernesto Elliott

Nico Elliott

Ernesto Elliott, now 45 (L), was convicted of murder and jailed for life at the Old Bailey last month with a minimum sentence of 26 years. His son Nico, was jailed for 22 years

Ernesto Elliott’s appalling criminal record spanned 18 years from 2003, shortly after he arrived in the UK from his homeland.

Details of the full scale of his law-breaking will raise new questions about why he was not deported earlier.

Elliott’s arguments under Article 8 had already been considered and rejected by the Home Office when he lodged an asylum application, his second, in the early 2010s, it is understood.

The Mail revealed on Monday that six months after Elliott was supposed to be sent back to his native country in December 2020, he murdered 35-year-old Nathaniel Eyewu-Ago in a gruesome knife fight.

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The challenge which blocked Elliott’s removal from Britain never led to a full legal ruling because of his murder arrest, it is understood.

An open letter campaigning against the Jamaica flight which was supposed to deport Elliot was signed by supermodel Naomi Campbell, actor Thandiwe Newton, and broadcaster and historian Professor David Olusoga.

A separate letter was signed by Labour politicians including Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell

Actress Thandiwe Newton

Supermodel Naomi Campbell (left) and actress Thandiwe Newton (right) have made no comment since Elliott’s crime was revealed

Soul singer Beverley Knight

Historian David Olusoga

Soul singer Beverley Knight (left) and historian David Olusoga have also said nothing of Elliott’s conviction

In February 2020, in the run-up to a previous Jamaica deportation flight, another letter attacking the plans was signed by Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer and dozens of Labour MPs who now serve in his shadow ministerial team.

The cross-party letter to then prime minister Boris Johnson demanded that ‘all further deportations are cancelled’ over an ‘unacceptable risk of removing anyone with a potential Windrush claim’.

Signatories included David Lammy, now the shadow foreign secretary; Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general; Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary; and Louise Haigh, shadow transport secretary.

Elliott was sent down for three years in 2018 for possession of a knife and an imitation firearm.

He was in breach of a suspended sentence at the time, and also had previous convictions for knife and drugs offences.

Under immigration laws brought in by Labour in 2007, the Home Secretary is required to make a deportation order against any foreign criminal jailed for 12 months or more.

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Possession and use of imitation firearms – as in Elliott’s case – is treated almost as seriously as functioning weapons under the law because of the fear they instil.

Priti Patel, who oversaw the attempt to remove Elliott when she was in charge of the Home Office, said the case showed why it was crucial to defy ¿do-gooders¿ who try to block deportations

Priti Patel, who oversaw the attempt to remove Elliott when she was in charge of the Home Office, said the case showed why it was crucial to defy ‘do-gooders’ who try to block deportations

Elliott was one of 23 criminals who avoided deportation to Jamaica

Elliott was one of 23 criminals who avoided deportation to Jamaica

Elliott, now 45, was convicted of murder and jailed for life at the Old Bailey last month with a minimum sentence of 26 years.

The crime, which took place in broad daylight in Greenwich, south London, was videoed by shocked neighbours.

Footage shows Elliott, his son and another man repeatedly lunging with long-bladed knives and a hammer at Mr Eyewu-Ago, who was armed with a machete.

The victim collapsed after being stabbed through the heart and died in hospital six days later.

Onlookers who witnessed the bloody, eight-minute confrontation in June 2021 suffered ‘significant trauma’, police said.

Keeping Elliott in jail will cost the taxpayer more than £1.3million at current rates.

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