Asylum seeker who stabbed six people in Glasgow 'made 72 phone calls before attack'

The Home Office “has not learned any lessons” from a tragic incident where an asylum seeker who was shot dead after stabbing six people called the Home Office and various migrant support groups more than 70 times before his attack.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam, 28, was one of hundreds of asylum seekers moved into hotels in Glasgow at the start of lockdown.

It is understood he had contacted the Home Office, the housing and social care provider Mears, and the charity Migrant Help 72 times about his health and accommodation in the period leading up to the attack.

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An internal Home Office evaluation, seen by the BBC, said his calls “should have acted as a warning”.

Police on the scene after the stabbingsPolice on the scene after the stabbings
Police on the scene after the stabbings

The Scottish Refugee Council said the Home Office’s decision to continue to house refugees in hotels after the incident showed that it had not learned any lessons from the Glasgow tragedy.

It also found Adam had complained to staff in the hotel and was in touch with the Home Office about an assisted voluntary return to his home country.

The review is said to have made various recommendations, including developing a system to identify patterns of contact which may cause concern, and ensuring hotel staff are given “mental health awareness and de-escalation training.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said “significant” changes have now been made.

On June 26 2020, Adam stabbed six people in the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow, including three other asylum seekers, police constable David Whyte and two members of hotel staff.

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “This report speaks to issues we knew were present all along in regards to a lack of preparation and communication around the move into hotels, and that hotel staff had to fulfil responsibilities they should never have been faced with. These circumstances must be confined to the past. Hotel staff should not have to be trained to support people with complex mental health needs. The fact is, hotel staff cannot be should not have been expected to act as specialist mental health practitioners here.

“We are deeply worried that this report shows that the Home Office has not learned any real lessons from this tragedy. We are almost two years on and the Home Office’s Covid response measures are continuing to house asylum seekers in hotel accommodation across Scotland and the UK at a cost of £4.7m a day.”

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He added: “Reports that Badreddin Abadlla Adam made over 70 calls for help while he was in hotel accommodation are extremely worrying. We need answers as to why these calls were not met with swifter support.

“The Home Office owes it to the people who were staying in the Park Inn at the time of this tragic incident, their families, people who were and still are housed in institutional accommodation and the wider refugee community to release this report in full.”

Refugees for Justice was among multiple organisations and charities at the time raising concerns after Mears, which was subcontracted by the Home Office, moved refugees from self-contained accommodation to hotels.

Its members have been been campaigning for an independent public inquiry into the Park Inn incident since 2020.

The organisation’s Dylan Fotoohi told the BBC the Home Office review is a “shameful cover-up attempt”.

He said: “Lessons have not been learned, there has been no meaningful investigation, the biased evaluation report by the Home Office has been kept hidden, and they have now expanded the exact same practice that led to these tragedies in Glasgow to other cities in Scotland. This is utterly unacceptable.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Due to the pandemic the Home Office had to use an unprecedented number of hotels for asylum seekers, including in Glasgow.

“The use of hotels is unacceptable and we are working hard to find appropriate accommodation for asylum seekers but local authorities must do all they can to help house people permanently.

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“Since this horrific incident we have undertaken a number of significant changes to keep asylum seekers safe, including how we, our contractors and charities spot vulnerable individuals and provide them with wraparound support and appropriate accommodation.

“The Home Office has completed the majority of recommendations in the review which found that hotels in Glasgow were of a good standard, clean and well-maintained.

“Our New Plan for Immigration, which is going through Parliament now, will fix the broken asylum system, enabling us to grant protection to those entitled to it and to remove those with no right to be here more quickly.”