Sussex

Hastings woman told jailed stalker was illegal immigrant

Sherzad Salih Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Sherzad Salih was jailed for four years in 2017

A woman who had been living in fear that her stalker was about to be released from prison has discovered he is due to be deported back to Iran.

Sherzad Salih was jailed in 2017 after targeting Lorraine Mitchell, from Hastings in East Sussex, for 10 years.

He bombarded the mother-of-three with phone calls and inappropriate messages.

Ms Mitchell said she had learned he should have been deported earlier. A Home Office spokesman said it did not comment on individual cases.

Ms Mitchell told BBC South East that although it was "a massive sense of relief", she also felt "massive anger" that Salih had been living as an illegal immigrant.

"The police, the probation were all aware of it. The criminal justice system were aware of it," she said.

"He's been committing crime for years. As far as I know there's 23 previous convictions and yet he's still been allowed to stay here and harm British citizens," she said.

Image caption Lorraine Mitchell said she finally feels she can now get her life back

Salih began stalking Ms Mitchell in 2007 after he approached her in a car park.

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court to four years in jail in 2017, and had been due for release this week.

Ms Mitchell said: "To me it's not a complicated system. If they're here illegally and committing crimes then they get deported.

"And that's what I want to know. Why wasn't he deported?"

Sam Taylor, of Sussex Stalking Support, said she understood Salih was arrested 23 times during the years he had been in the UK for offences linked to stalking, harassment and domestic abuse.

"I don't really understand how it hadn't been picked up before now," she said.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "Issues relating to the status of individuals in the UK and decisions on deportation are matters for the courts and the Home Office, not the police."

The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.

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