Telegraph and Argus/Staff Reporter
A BRADFORD (UK) resident who was recently deported from the United Kingdom was reportedly attacked in Harare while getting some food.
Mpofu’s best friend, John Priestley informed The Telegraph and Argus that Bruce was attacked whilst getting some food from a shop Monday evening.
It is not clear where the attack happened and whether he reported the matter to the police.
Priestley said: “He got out of the quarantine hotel on Sunday and went to grab a bite to eat from the shop on the Monday and he was attacked.”
“Bruce doesn’t know much about the attack, he was assaulted when he wasn’t looking and whoever did it left quickly, but he could barely open his right eye due to swelling, bruises, and has a few other more minor bruises. I think his Yorkshire accent was a giveaway, if anyone wants to target those that have been deported, it’s not difficult to find out.”
Mpofu is now staying in a hotel with a relative who has travelled from neighbouring South Africa, whilst he looks for work and permanent accommodation.
Priestley said he feels ‘dejected and angry towards the Home Office as in the appeal Bruce’s solicitor mentioned that it’s known attacks can happen towards those deported and the Home Office rebutted it as nonsense and that he would be perfectly safe as a ‘fit, young male.’
Bruce Mpofu, 29, came over to the UK with his mum who is an NHS worker, when he was aged nine, but found that he was being detained during a routine immigration meeting in July.
On Wednesday, August 25 he was put on a charter flight from Heathrow airport and flown to Harare, Zimbabwe after a series of legal battles.
He was convicted of a robbery offence in 2010 when he was 18, and was sentenced to 11 months in jail but has not reoffended since.
When the Telegraph and Argus asked The Home Office for a comment about the deportation on August 27, a spokesperson said: “Foreign criminals who abuse our hospitality should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them. Since January 2019 we have removed 7,985 foreign national offenders from the UK.
“We only ever return those who we and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.
“All people in IRCs are provided with a mobile phone and have access to landline telephones on request, fax machines, email, and video calling facilities which can be used to contact legal representatives. We check the signal regularly and no issues have been recorded.”
The Telegraph and Argus has contacted now The Home Office for comment in regards to the attack.
Before this summer, no mass deportation flights had left for Zimbabwe for more than ten years, but it is believed the UK has agreed a deal with the country’s new government which enables removals of Zimbabwean nationals who have served prison sentences in the UK of more than 12 months.
Bruce’s friend, John Priestley said: “After his conviction, Bruce wanted to turn his life around, and that’s what he did.
“He approached Wibsey rugby club to meet better friends and he’s done a lot of volunteer work for the community.
He hasn’t re-offended since. He deeply regrets what he did when he was younger. He’s loved by everyone.”
Bruce went onto college to complete a plumbing course after his jail sentence, and joined the local rugby club to ensure he was ‘getting in with the right crowd’.
Bruce’s friends are raising money to help with ongoing legal costs and to help him ‘get on his feet’ in Zimbabwe.