A father who has lived in Croydon since he was a child is battling a Government deportation bid that would leave him thousands of miles away from his six-year-old son in Balham.

Jermaine Strachan, now aged 26, moved from Jamaica as a 14-year-old to live with his father in Thornton Heath.

But his dad, Errol Strachan, died less than two years later after being hit by a car driven by an Olympic athlete while working at the 2004 games in Athens.

It led to the Home Office rejecting Jermaine's application to become a British citizen - lodged just before his father died - because he had no parent living in Britain.

The dad-of-one, whose estranged mum lives in Jamaica, has been in immigration limbo ever since and required to report to the UK Border Agency weekly since turning 18 so it can monitor him.

In November, UKBA accelerated plans to remove Mr Strachan from the country - despite him having a six-year-old British son, Maliki - and held him in immigration detention in Dover for nearly three months.

He was due to be have been deported on Sunday but was granted a last-minute stay of execution by a High Court judge, who ruled there were "outstanding and unanswered" human rights issues the Home Office had not considered.

He was bailed on Monday.

It followed a plea from Maliki's primary school teacher, who wrote to the Home Office and the court urging them not to force the youngster to grow up fatherless.

Mr Strachan, of Frant Road, said: "Maliki came to visit me in detention and didn't want to come again. He did not like it. He thought I was in prison.

"I hear he is not concentrating at school, he is depressed and breaking down at school. I miss him."

Mr Strachan has lived with his stepmum Hazel Brown-Strachan since his father - who moved to Croydon in 1990 - died. His paternal grandparents also live in England.

He said: "My dad was looking after my papers and then he passed away. I had no one to go back home to - the only option was to stay with my family.

"I don't know why they want to send me to Jamaica. I have no family support over there."

He added: "I have committed no crime, I have nothing against my name. At the moment I am just waiting. I am stressed out and frustrated. I don't know what is going on."

Croydon Guardian:

Hazel Brown-Strachan holds a picture of husband Errol Strachan, who died in 2004

Mrs Brown-Strachan, 53, has been fighting to prevent her stepson's deportation.

She said: "If he was a criminal getting in trouble, then I could understand. But he is nothing like that. He is a decent young man and has got his son, who is a British citizen.

"Why are they homing in on him like this? It just beggars belief."

She added: "He has been sitting in detention in Dover, not knowing what his fate is going to be. He has been signing on now for the best part of eight years, unable to work.

"He has never absconded and they have never tried to remove him from the country."

UK-born Maliki lives in Balham with his mum Stacy-Ann Grey, who is Jamaican but has British citizenship.

Mary King, Maliki's teacher at Trinity St Mary's Church of England School School, wrote in her letter she had "seen his world turn upside down" since his dad was detained.

She said: "This naturally happy boy has become frequently tearful, complains that he misses his dad and finds it increasingly difficult to concentrate on his work.

She added: "I worry for the severe effects his father's deportation will have on him. Maliki is a British citizen and he needs his dad as he grows up.

"I implore you to reverse the decision to deport Maliki's father."

A High Court judge ruled on Friday the Home Office must respond to Mr Strachan's lawyers' representations under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects the right to family life, before it can remove him from the UK.

The ruling, which prevents home secretary Theresa May deporting Mr Strachan until further order, said "substantial further representations relating to a claim under Article 8 of the ECHR involving issues of the best interests of the apellant's minor child are outstanding and unanswered, despite being repeatedly 'chased up' by the applicant's solicitors."

It added: "I am satisfied that the applicant should have a response to those submissions, an d a realistic opportunity to consider what if any action to take in response, before his removing him from the United Kingdom."

The Home Office has yet to respond to requests for comment. 


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