Stalker victims call for harsher border checks

Alison Hewitt and Al Amin Dhalla
Alison Hewitt and Al Amin Dhalla

The parents of a woman who fell victim to a foreign ‘narcissistic psychopath’ have taken on Whitehall in a campaign to tighten the border and stop criminals flooding into the UK.

Canadian national Al Amin Dhalla was jailed last June after a long harassment campaign against his one-time girlfriend and former Aylesbury High School student Dr Alison Hewitt.

Dhalla, whose crimes will feature in a Channel 4 documentary later this month, attempted to torch Wing Police Station and Alison’s parents’ house in Aston Abbotts.

He also created a chilling conspiracy which police say, had they not intercepted, could have seen them ‘looking at a murder, if not three’.

Alison’s mother Pam claims Dhalla’s crimes could have been prevented had the UK Border Agency carried out criminal record checks on him at immigration control, as in the US.

Currently, when someone applies for a visa to enter the UK, they must declare any criminal record but Mrs Hewitt said it was wrong these declarations are taken in good faith.

City auditor Dhalla had previous convictions for armed assault in Canada but lied about these on his application and was let in.

Mrs Hewitt said: “Dhalla came to the UK because he had been refused entry to the USA and would not be allowed into Australia or New Zealand because of his criminal record.”

In November 2010, Mrs Hewitt even wrote to the UK Border Agency while Dhalla was on holiday in Canada, warning of his violent past, which she discovered via a private investigator.

She said: “I sent the information two days before his flight, but by the time they’d got a message through it was too late.”

After writing to the agency, filing complaints and writing to Home Secretary Theresa May, Mrs Hewitt contacted Vale MP John Bercow who co-signed her complaint about the agency to the ombudsman, which is now investigating.

She added: “People keep saying he’s going to be deported, but I have absolutely no confidence that he won’t just come back in if he is. He’s already used 
three aliases.”

Mrs Hewitt and her husband David Gray are fighting to have the law changed, so advance criminal record checks are carried out at the expense of the visa applicant – the same system as in America, Australia and New Zealand.

Mrs Hewitt added: “Police checks on visa applicants would deter criminals from coming here and would save millions in costs of court cases, police work and legal aid.”

She has written to David Cameron urging him to consider her proposals, as well as other key politicians, and has set up an online petition.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: “This was a terrible case and this individual is now in jail where he belongs.

“We believe all foreign criminals should be removed from the UK and will seek to deport Dhalla at the earliest opportunity.” The agency apologised for the delay.