Asylum seeker who pulled knife on fellow hotel resident avoids jail

An asylum seeker living in Sunderland who threatened fellow applicants with a knife has avoided a custodial sentence following a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Hakiri Ghafuri, 29, pleaded guilty to an offence back in May, when he was involved in an altercation at the Mercure York Fairfield Manor Hotel in Skelton, North Yorkshire. Ghafuri took issue with a number of his fellow residents at the hotel – which was being used exclusively to house asylum seekers – who had allegedly insulted his family.

The court heard how Ghafuri walked back to his room before returning to the scene with the blade, which was not used. The Kurdish asylum seeker – who had arrived in the UK illegally shortly before the incident – then ran from the hotel, although he was found shortly afterwards and arrested.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “Security staff were alerted to a disturbance, and there were five or six people found grappling.

“Mr Ghafuri was present and suddenly bolted from the room and was chased by security staff.

“He went directly to his room and is then seen carrying a red-coloured knife. He has then ran back to the initial scene of the disturbance.

“Following this, he attended a different room and began to bang on the door, still holding the knife.

“He again ran off but is later detained, without any possession of the knife. Police searched and the knife was found.”

Ghafuri’s defence lawyer advised the court that his client had no previous convictions and insisted there had been “no repetition or further offences”.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order including 20 days of rehabilitation work and 40 hours of unpaid work, in addition to a £95 victim surcharge.