Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 16:30 UK

Ex-footballer Rosenior fights brother's deportation

By Omari Eccleston-Brown
BBC London News

Will James with mother, Gladys Rosenior, and girlfriend
Mr James said he was "distraught" about the prospect of leaving his family

A man who fled civil war as a child, with the British midwife who delivered him, has been told he will be deported.

Will James, 20, from south London, has been told to return to Sierra Leone after living for 13 years in the UK.

The UK Border Agency ruled he could not demonstrate an established "family and personal life" within the UK.

His adoptive family, including former footballer Leroy Rosenior, called the ruling "unjust" and will appeal in May. The Home Office refused to comment.

Mr James lives with his adoptive mother Gladys Rosenior in Clapham Park.

'Can't sleep'

Mrs Rosenior, 78, delivered him in 1990, then formally adopted him aged five with his parents' blessing.

When civil war broke out in 1997, she was airlifted back to the UK and brought Mr James with her.

Mrs Rosenior says she can no longer walk unaided and depends on her son's care since her husband died suddenly in August 2009.

"I can't sleep at night thinking about it," she said.

Will James with adopted father Willie James.
Leroy Rosenior said it was distressing for the family

Mr James, who has not returned to Sierra Leone since leaving, said he was distraught.

Asked what he knew of the country, he said: "To be honest not a lot. I wouldn't even know where to start."

In 2008, Mr James was sentenced to four months in a youth detention centre after he was found carrying a bike chain, which was judged to be an offensive weapon.

The UK Border Agency's cited this as a contributing factor in its ruling.

Mr James insisted he is a bike enthusiast and violence is "not within my nature".

'Strong family'

The Roseniors said they are "determined" to overturn the decision and have launched a 'Will Must Stay' campaign. About 350 people have signed an online petition so far.

Leroy Rosenior, Mr James's adoptive brother, called it "distressing" for the whole family.

"We are a strong family and determined to fight for Will's right to stay here where he belongs," the former West Ham United and Fulham player added.

Mr James's appeal will be held on 4 May at an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in west London. The family has planned a peaceful demonstration outside before the hearing.

The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.



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SEE ALSO
Country profile: Sierra Leone
15 Aug 09 |  Country profiles

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