Female security worker at Britain’s main immigration centre escapes jail after trying to smuggle Albanian lover into UK in boot of her car
A security worker at the UK’s main immigration centre tried to smuggle her own deported lover back into the country in the boot of her car.
Custody officer Kelly Henderson, 39, started an affair with Fatos Demirneli during his detention at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in West London.
When the “good looking” Albanian was deported the besotted mother-of-one plotted to sneak him back into Britain from France.
In August last year she drove across the Channel and tried to smuggle Demirneli back into the UK hidden in the back of her Nissan Micra.
But immigration officials at the Channel Tunnel entrance at Coquelles searched the car and found the stowaway – as well as a quantity of amphetamines.
Police then raided Henderson’s home in West Drayton, Middlesex and found MDMA, prosecutor Jim Harvey told Canterbury Crown Court.
Henderson, who has been sacked from GEO Group Inc who run the immigration removal centre, admitted people smuggling and two drugs offences.
But despite her crimes she escaped jail when a judge said what she did was ‘silly but understandable’.
Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl said the normal sentence for the offence was “almost always” an immediate jail term but gave Henderson a suspended sentence.
He told her: “You were very silly and now you realise that.
“One can understand the kind of emotions which were swirling around in your mind at the prospect of parting from your boyfriend.
“This was a very silly but understandable act.”
Paul Hogben, defending, said Henderson, who has a 14 year-old daughter, “allowed her emotions to run away with her.”
He said: “This is a sad case of a 39 year old mother with a 14 year old daughter. She was somewhat vulnerable.
“She allowed her emotions to run away with her and was tempted to bring what was in effect her lover into this country.
“She has not injured anyone. She has not stolen from anyone but has committed an offence which has put her in the gravest danger of custody.”
He added: “She is a kind and decent person, who while working as a custody officer she formed a friendship with Mr Demirneli
“To put that in context, this is a lady who had been fending for herself and her daughter for 14 years.”
He said Henderson had a “short-lived” relationship with the father of her child when she was 20 to 22.
She claimed the father gave her an ultimatum that if she kept the child their relationship was finished.
Mr Hogben said: “So she left and he did not figure in her or her daughter’s life for two years.
“After a reconciliation which was marked by violence, she has not ,from that point, apart from another short-lived relationship, had a man in her life until she met Mr Demirneli
“He was a very nice man. She said he was very good looking and she was flattered by the fact he had taken an interest in her.
“She succumbed even though she knew there was a conflict with her employment. She was not naive but she gave way to the emotions which had grown between them.”
Mr Hogben said Mr Demirneli was sent back to France – but the affair carried on.
He said: “Although she did not have a plan to bring her lover back to the UK illegally, she did want the relationship to continue in the hope he could come back legally one day.”
Henderson went to France to spend time with her lover and when the time came to part “she just couldn’t and a mad idea came into her head to secrete him in her car.”
The court heard that Demirneli has since been removed from the UK.
The barrister handed the judge a letter written by Henderson’s daughter saying she loved her mother “above everything else.”
Henderson was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work for the community.
The judge ordered the car – which she claimed was worth £300 – be confiscated.