As Yaqub Ahmed looked out over the calm waters of the Indian Ocean from his hotel terrace, he must have felt like a winner of the competition.
The Peace Hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu is described on its website as an “oasis of calm” with stylish architecture, international restaurants, a gym and even an outdoor running track.
Personal security is provided to those wishing to venture into the city and it is the most popular hotel among business travelers and diplomats. In a sense, Somalian Ahmed – who was convicted along with three other men of the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in a London flat in 2007 – “won” his luxury stay after a five-year game of cat and mouse strategy with the home office.
Of course, Britain should have been shot by Ahmed in 2018 when he was given a one-way ticket to his home country on a Turkish Airlines flight after his refugee status was revoked.
But just before departure there was a bizarre mutiny by fellow virtue-signaling passengers, unaware of his horrific crimes, which resulted in him being escorted off the plane – and applauding him when he did.
After this unexpected stroke of luck for Ahmed, this unpleasant chancellor embarked on a relentless merry-go-round of trials and appeals, dragging out his battle in front of no fewer than 24 trials and 20 judges.
Six successive home secretaries tried to remove the rapist from the UK while he smugly exploited human rights and modern slavery laws to argue against deportation.
In August this year, officials finally broke the cycle by secretly striking the luxury deportation deal that would permanently deport Ahmed, who first came to Britain in 2003 as a 14-year-old refugee.
To satisfy the court that the deportation was not a violation of his human rights, the Interior Ministry agreed to support Ahmed’s relocation to Mogadishu for three and a half months.
But incredibly, the all-expenses paid hotel stay isn’t the most annoying part of this absurd story.
What really remains hidden is the personally tailored “therapy package” that the Interior Ministry put together for the rapist to help him cope with the “ordeal” of his deportation.
These included extended access to treatment at a clinic in Somalia, transportation to and from his appointments, and a month’s supply of antidepressants.
Lack of funding
Meanwhile, the woman he brutally attacked in Britain, now a mother of two, says she struggled to find such help to deal with the mental anguish she endured.
More than a million pounds in legal, prison and deportation costs were wasted thanks to Ahmed’s repeated appeals.
But the counseling services for victims fail.
Rape centers across the country issued panicked warnings earlier this year that they were being forced to close waiting lists due to a lack of funding.
Ahmed’s victim, who was lured into a terrifying trap by her attackers who then took turns raping her, says she spent years trying in frustration to access specialist psychiatric treatment.
The disturbing truth is that if you are raped in the UK today, your chances of getting justice, let alone counseling, are slim.
In a 2022 report, Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird confirmed that reporting rape was effectively a lottery for victims.
In the year to December 2021, 67,125 rape crimes were recorded – an all-time high. But the number of convictions has almost halved (2,689 in 2016/17 compared to 1,409 in 2020/21).
Only five percent of the rapes that came to police conclusions ended in charges.
The law must work in the interests of the most vulnerable victims, not those seeking to manipulate the system.
The Golden Girl Hannah is a Christmas miracle
My crush on glamorous Ted Lasso actress Hannah Waddingham just got even better after discovering a trailer for her AppleTV musical Home For Christmas, out tomorrow.
The former West End star already has a major international comedy hit under his belt, hosted the Olivier Awards, co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest and has now, it seems, conquered Christmas with this winter wonderland spectacle taking place at the London Coliseum was filmed.
I’m going to spend the holidays wondering how a woman can be so damn talented.
Thank you, Simon
Multi-millionaire and part-time parenting expert Simon Cowell told us we should all take Fridays off to spend quality time with our children.
In a recent interview, the father of one even listed driving 25 miles on a whim to buy a pack of Pokémon cards as a recommended activity for those bad days.
The 64-year-old TV mogul, once known for his fierce work ethic, has declared that there is “no need” to work on Fridays and that we should stop reading emails, playing with our children at 5.30pm or watch a family movie.
It’s a nice idea, Si, but most working parents don’t have a personal staff or hundreds of millions in the bank.
Fridays are usually a rush to get work done in order to have some down time at the weekend, not to mention tidying up around the house, doing the weekly grocery shopping and getting to the Forth Road Bridge laundry.
Maybe when I make my first million I’ll give it a try.
No more Black Friday
EVERY year, retail experts warn that holiday spending will plummet.
Then, as if by a Christmas miracle, every January we read that it was actually a record year for retail.
Accounting firm PwC is the latest company to try to lure us into stores by warning that fewer of us will be bargain hunting this Black Friday – a concept imported from the US.
I lived in America for five years and there Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving, the country’s biggest national holiday.
It’s the equivalent of our Boxing Day sales, where stores slash prices to encourage people to spend in their leisure time.
Here, Black Friday is just another excuse to part with our money.
If it is inflicted on us, can we at least say thanks and also have a day off?
Josie did it right
THIS Morning’s Josie Gibson has had a strong start on I’m A Celeb.
She also looked great after going down two dress sizes after avoiding quick fixes and exercising instead.
You can’t blame people for wanting immediate results, but the current boom in “fat shots” is choking off the supply of the drug to those who really need it.
The situation reached such a crisis that the government declared that drugs like Ozempic should only be prescribed to treat type 2 diabetics to protect supplies.
But while NHS Type 2 patients struggle to get prescriptions, there are numerous online pharmacies offering weight loss drugs for sale for hundreds of pounds.
For people with chronic weight problems, medications like Ozempic can be a game-changer.
Society generally doesn’t show much compassion for overweight people. People with nutritional problems cannot simply stop eating and often need more drastic help.
Anyone who orders medication to lose a few kilos should follow Josie’s example.
With that in mind…call me
Typically, Debrett’s is more concerned with pressing matters such as how many forks to put on a place setting and has issued “Ten Commandments” for polite use of cell phones.
The 250-year-old authority on etiquette claims that calling people out of the blue is a big no-no. Instead, you should text to schedule a call. Young people in particular are apparently “alarmed” when their phone rings.
But much to my disappointment, there was nothing to combat the ongoing scourge of WhatsApp voice notes.
These are scraps of whatever is on the sender’s mind, delivered directly to your cell phone, including “ums,” “aahs,” and pointless asides for the recipient to listen to.
If you can’t be bothered to type it, don’t send it, call instead.