A Zimbabwean sex offender has been deported from Britain
The Home Office has taken seven weeks to confirm a sex pest is not at large in south Essex.
In late April, the Echo pressed the Home Office for the whereabouts of Zimbabwean Tawanda Machingura, formerly of Westcliff.
He had been jailed in May 2004 for having unlawful sex with a mental health patient at Runwell Hospital on his first day of work and tricking the authorities with false paperwork.
Fears Machingura may have been among the 80 foreign serious offenders who should have been deported, but instead slipped through the net, grew when the Government was unable to confirm where he was.
However, following weeks of questioning and raising the issue in Parliament, Billericay and District Tory MP John Baron was told he was deported last March.
Despite the news, Mr Baron, who raised the issue after the Home Office refused to answer an Echo enquiry, heavily criticised Home Secretary John Reid for the delays.
He said: "The minister will be aware that this foul crime two years ago caused much concern locally and we wanted to know the whereabouts of this dangerous individual after his release.
"And yet, despite writing to the Home Secretary in April, asking written parliamentary questions and phoning the Home Office, I hit a wall of silence.
"It has taken the minister being dragged to the Dispatch Box to get a simple answer to a simple question."
Mr Baron said the delay in confirming Machingura's status was worrying news for the Home Office, which had shown little sign of improvement since the foreign prisoner scandal first broke.
He said: "The good news is that we have learnt that this individual has been deported. The bad news is that the Home Office have still failed to get a grip of this shambles, and unfortunately this looks set to continue."
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