Stabbings: Call for inquiry amid ‘accommodation crisis’

Attacker described as 'quiet and polite and decent guy' as charity calls for investigation

Stabbings: Call for inquiry amid ‘accommodation crisis’

A charity is calling for an inquiry after the Glasgow stabbings that saw the attacker – an asylum seeker – shot dead by police.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam, 28, from Sudan, was shot dead by armed police officers after six people – including 42-year-old constable David Whyte – were injured in the incident on Friday at the Park Inn Hotel on West George Street.

Five other men – aged 17, 18, 20, 38 and 53 – all remain in hospital, as of the latest update on Saturday, with one in a critical condition.

Charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) has now raised concerns after private housing provider Mears, which is subcontracted by the Home Office, moved refugees from self-contained accommodation to the hotel.

PAIH is now calling for an inquiry into the incident and the “accommodation crisis” facing asylum seekers in the city.

Director Robina Qureshi said: “You and I know that staying inside a house is difficult enough through the pandemic.

“But staying in a hotel with four walls and not being able to socially distance, not being able to clean your own environment, not being able to wash your own clothes, not able to cook your own food – all of this conspires to create mental pressure on a human being.

“People that Mears took and the Home Office uprooted in March at the height of the lockdown were vulnerable people.

“They were not Amazon parcels, they were human beings with feelings and thoughts and fears, and they were terrified of what was happening next and why they were put into these hotels.”

She added: “Some have told us directly they were told they were going into long-term accommodation, but were put into two vans (four or five to a van), and then parcelled off into hotels all over the city, not just jeopardising the asylum seekers, but also jeopardising the public health of the city of Glasgow.

“This was not a movie. This was a real thing. And they were very frightened people who have been traumatised on the journey from being tortured.”

Among concerns raised by the charity are claims the asylum seekers are no longer receiving their allocated £5.39 a day.

Ms Qureshi said they had been told this was for concern for “their safety in case to catch a virus from the coins”.

Meanwhile, one asylum seeker who was residing at the hotel has described the attacker as a “quiet and polite and decent guy”.

Named only as Andrew, he said: “Recently we were moved from the Park Inn Hotel to the Hallmark Hotel because of the incident that happened on Friday which has been traumatic for every single asylum seeker.

“One way or the other we have been affected mentally, physically and otherwise.

“I (was not) around when it took place but I happened to gather some information from my other asylum seekers.

“They described him as a quiet and polite and decent guy – they were surprised that he acted the way he acted.

“There must be something that pushed him to behave in that ugly manner which honestly I strongly condemned because it is abnormal, but definitely something must have pushed that guy into that level of disastrous act.”

At her daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We’re considering what further lessons need to be learned from what happened on Friday.

“Aileen Campbell, the Communities Secretary, is discussing the safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers in a phone call with the UK Government later today.

“But for the moment I simply want to take this opportunity to thank all of the police officers involved in dealing with Friday’s attack – they showed outstanding courage, dedication and professionalism and through that undoubtedly avoided a very serious situation indeed becoming even worse.

“I also want to praise our medical services including of course the Scottish Ambulance Service for providing such effective care so quickly to those affected by the attack.

“My thoughts are very much with Constable David Whyte and with everyone harmed in Friday’s incident.

“I hope all six people injured make a full and speedy recovery, my best wishes go to them and to their loved ones.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised providing asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with free and safe accommodation that enables public health guidance to be followed as well as access to healthcare services.

“Cash allowances are not provided as their essential living needs and costs are being met by the accommodation provider.”

A statement from Mears Group, the private housing provider subcontracted by the Home Office that was using Glasgow’s Park Inn Hotel for asylum seekers, said: “Our thoughts remain with those in hospital and others impacted by this tragedy. We are doing everything we can to provide additional support to service users.

“We immediately moved service users from the Park Inn Hotel into new accommodation on Friday night. Mears staff slept here also to provide additional help and support. Glasgow City Council have provided four social workers from their major incident support team to be on site.

“We are providing access to additional counselling support and to essential items such as clothing. We wish to thank our staff, the police and NHS, and the charities and support groups who have assisted with the collective and significant response. We are assisting the police with their investigation.

“As we announced last week, we are planning to move people from hotels as soon as alternative accommodation becomes available.”

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