Northern Ireland

Francis Nyamhingura jailed for false name bid to get passport

A man who tried to use a false name to stay in the UK has been jailed for 18 months.

Francis Nyamhingura, from Zimbabwe, was arrested at Mountcollyer Avenue in north Belfast last September after he applied for a UK passport under the name Seth Benedict Erskine.

Nyamhingura, 39, originally came to the UK 13 years ago on a student visa.

The Home Office has confirmed that it will try to deport Nyamhingura to Zimbabwe after he is released.

Geoff Ward, of the Home Office, said: "Nyamhingura built his life in the UK on a lie and for a time successfully managed to keep under the radar of the authorities.

"However, there was only so long he could evade detection and this case sends out a warning to those who try to con their way round our immigration system. We will catch you and you will pay a heavy penalty."

In August 2003, Nyamhingura applied for a UK passport using his assumed name.

Investigators found he had also used his false identity to get a Northern Ireland driving licence and jobseekers allowance.

Nyamhingura pleaded guilty to charges of nine counts of possession of a false identity document. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Tuesday, at Belfast Crown Court.

The judge, Corinne Philpott QC, said it was unclear who was taking the money from his jobseekers allowance payments. She added that Nyamhingura has two small children and a brother living in the UK, and the court would not recommend his deportation.

If he had not pleaded guilty, she said, he would have been jailed for at least three and a half years.