Failed asylum-seeker used fake papers to work in school
A FAILED asylum-seeker used fake documents to get jobs in schools looking after vulnerable students.
James Ekpa, 36, obtained work as a teaching assistant in schools for three years, bypassing strict child protection safeguards.
Liberian Ekpa, who fled to Bridlington to escape the authorities after his claim for asylum failed, had passed two enhanced Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks using fake documents.
He was only caught when he was stopped for shoplifting and, despite using his false identity at the police station, checks with the Border Agency immediately flagged up that they were fake.
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Jailing him for 12 months, Judge David Tremberg said: "Jobs are hard to come by in this country.
"People with legitimate rights to look for work were deprived of that opportunity by you by taking such employment."
Hull Crown Court heard Ekpa had entered the UK from Liberia in 2005 and after his asylum bid failed he went on the run, eventually moving Bridlington.
He obtained a false passport and a fake national insurance card in the name of Kevin Ntini, claiming to be a South African national.
He worked at a special needs school in Lincoln before moving to a position as a teaching assistant on a £15,500-a-year salary at the Barton School, which caters for children aged eight to 18 who suffer with autism.
It was only when he was caught shoplifting at TK Maxx in Hull on August 15 of this year that his true identity was revealed.
The father-of-two had been caught stealing two pairs of women's shoes, which were worth £59.98, after a security guard spotted him cutting off security tags with a pair of wire cutters.
Ekpa was jailed after he pleaded guilty to possessing a false identity document and theft.
His barrister John Thackray said: "He has worked hard, he has not committed any offences and has supported his partner and his children.
"All of that, of course, is against a background of him absconding in circumstances when he should have returned to his own country."
Judge David Tremberg told Ekpa the courts needed to deal robustly with identity crimes.
He said: "Such offences strike at the heart of our immigration and asylum system.
"You deliberately went to ground and acquired for yourself a false and new identify.
"That course of criminal conduct was designed and intended to keep you out of the way of the authorities and allowed you to work and live here."