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Friday, 3 September 2010

Gay Jamaican drug smuggling hairdresser jailed for false passport

Biometric passportsImage by OwenBlacker via Flickr Source: Hackney Gazette

A homosexual Jamaican hairdresser jailed for smuggling drugs is behind bars again after trying to renew a fake passport given back to him by prison officials.

Ronnie Richards, 32, of Bethune Road, Stamford Hill, was jailed in 2002 for 11 years for importing drugs.

Richards was released in January 2009 and given back the fake document, under the name of Damien Creary, before trying to renew it the following December.

Passport service staff noticed it was reported lost and it transpired Richards had added his own photo to the document to try and convince officials.

Richards confessed after he was arrested and also admitted he had already used the passport to leave and re-enter the UK.

Natalie Carter, defending, said Richards came to the UK to escape persecution for his homosexuality in Jamaica and managed to make a successful living as a hairdresser in recent months.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Richards got the passport form an older man he was in a relationship with.

He has been living illegally in the country since he overstayed a sixth-month visa granted in June 2001.

Miss Carter said Richards had wanted to use the passport to attend his sister’s funeral in Jamaica and had only used it once before when he was caught smuggling drugs.

The court heard that prison authorities held onto it but handed it back to Richards on his release.

Judge Tudor Owen said the passport should never have been passed back to Richards and sentenced him to 12 months in jail on Wednesday August 25.

Upon completing his sentence, Richards will automatically be considered for deportation.

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