Tower Hamlets school defends hiring man convicted of racially-motivated manslaughter

Ian Mikardo High School
Ian Mikardo High School

A Tower Hamlets school has defended employing a man who was convicted of manslaughter in a racially-motivated attack on a Bangladeshi father.

Ian Devlin was 17 when he was sentenced for nine years for killing Shiblu Rahman in April 2001 – an attack that took place close to where he now employed.

Devlin has been an assistant at Ian Mikardo High School since 2010.

The school, in Bromley-by-Bow, is for boys aged 11-16 with serious social, emotional and behavioural issues.

Although the school knew about the conviction, parents and the wider community were not made aware of it.

The school has praised Devlin an “excellent example” of a rehabilitated offender and said he had passed the appropriate security checks.

Devlin has declined to comment.

Ian Devlin 620
‘Valued member of school community’: Ian Devlin


Headteacher Claire Lillis told the BBC: “Ian Devlin has worked at the school for the last five years. He has been an excellent example of how a rehabilitated offender can contribute to his community and he is a valued member of our school community.

“The school took all appropriate checks and advice in appointing Mr Devlin and wish to support him in continuing to do the work which he has been legally appointed to perform.

“I am concerned that the reaction of the community to this news presents more of a safeguarding risk to our vulnerable children than his presence at the school and would urge local people to react in a calm and measured way.”

When sentenced in 2001, Judge Richard Hawkins said: “I am in no doubt that this was a racially motivated attack.”

But Tower Hamlets Labour councillor Khales Ahmed said it was “poor management” that the school had decided to employ Devlin.

Cllr Ahmed told the BBC: “Many residents [have] approached me about their concerns about this issue. I immediately asked for an investigation. It is a huge mistake by the school.

“Fifteen years ago Shiblu Rahman was killed by this person. It was a terrible racist killing.

“I know he has a right to a job. In this country he has a right to do everything but not locally, where he killed someone.

“It is a disaster. It is terrible for us, a local diverse community.

“Local residents remember what happened. I am shocked by this school. It is poor management. He shouldn’t be employed here in this school.

“He can get a job anywhere else in this country. I know the employment process was legal, but as a local community we need to live together but that is difficult if he is here.”

Cllr Ahmed is calling for Devlin to be moved to school further from where the crime took place.

The Met Police said local community tensions were “not a policing matter at this stage”.

1 Comment

  1. Muhammad Haque on Monday 20 June 2016 at 4:33 pm

    YOUR piece ends:

    “The Met Police said local community tensions were “not a policing matter at this stage”.”

    It is such a simple statement yet so intriguing, “policing matter”!

    While the whole of the UK is exercised via the “Media” about security, safety etc, a woman, aged 41, gets gunned down and murdered in broad daylight and the murderer is evidently not deterred even after being arrested.

    “Policing matter”!

    What could that be when applied to what Jo Cox’s murderer did?

    “Policing matter” is not as neat as your un-named source at the Met Police or their agenda-setters might have thought.

    I have been seeking to get the Met Police to come on the record about “policing matter” affecting all parts of the Community in Tower Hamlets for years.

    I stopped asking the local “Met Police” after it became clear that I would not be getting the hard facts that I had been seeking.

    In the years BEFORE Altab Ali was murdered on Thursday 4 May 1978, the “Met Police” operated
    an exercise they tellingly called “Police Community Liaison” based at the then Leman Street
    Police Station.

    The Met Police “invited” individuals from the local Asian part of the population but the proceedings were led by the Met Police person who chaired the periodic Meeting.

    Chief Supt John Wallis was the first one.

    So what was the purpose of the “Liaison” exercise when Altab Ali got ambushed and murdered in broad day light not even a mile from the Leman Street Police stanton?

    Clearly “policing matter” had not existed then! Or had it?

    Fast forward to 18 April 2016 and witness the lone MP Jim Fitzpatrick battling to get answers about the Tower Hamlets Election Fraud and why no prosecutions took place.

    It was an occasion that demanded either Theresa May or one of her ministerial team members to
    deal with Fitzpatrick’s questions.

    But neither May nor anyone else from her ‘team” showed up.

    It was left to John Penrose, a junior minister carrying the tag ‘cabinet office’ who repeated the package that had been issued by Eric Pickles’ successor Greg Clark at the DCLG.

    But Penrose did not answer Fitzpatrick’s questions.

    The event was turned into near farce when Julian Lewis stood up and delivered a most
    unoriginal praise for the “brave citizens”, the “Tower Hamlets Election Petitioners”!

    Only those who know the hard background facts about the “Election Petition” would have been
    reduced to tears of sheer irony at Julian Lewis’ appearance!

    Neither the other Tower Hamlets MP, Rushanara Ali nor the DPP in place at the time, appeared on the floor of the House of Commons.

    Nor did Andrew Mitchell, a somewhat accidentally installed icon of experts eon “policing matter”

    In other words, there is hardly a thing called “policing matter”.

    Policing, as Owen Jones observed in a piece carried by the Guardian, the Met Police had
    outstayed its claims.

    But was Jones right?

    There has not been a real Political Debate about Policing in Britain for more than a century.

    Nobody wants to speak candidly about “policing matter” for fear that they may be targeted for
    reprisals dressed up plausibly under any number of “laws”.

    Policing matter is not what your “source” at the Met might have expected to convey.

    Society needs to have a real UPDATER DEBATE on all aspects of Policing, including
    the increasing phenomenon of Phantom Policing.

    It has been over 15 years since I last had any real conversation with a Met Police post-holder.

    Yet in those 15 years, so many issues have occurred in my knowledge that warranted being
    included in the list of “policing matter”.

    But I cannot get hold of the Police.

    I don’t see the Police.

    When I attempt to communicate via the internet I get the feeling that
    my view of what constitutes “policing matter” may be based on
    very old fashioned Policing.

    That sort of policing does not exist in London any more.

    It exists even less in Tower Hamlets.

    So how to “interpret” your Met Police source’s “explanation”?

    1632 GMT London Monday 20 July 2016


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