Mother of student, 18, stabbed by an Iraqi immigrant demands answers

EXCLUSIVE ‘How was this allowed to happen?’: Mother of student, 18, stabbed by an Iraqi immigrant who wanted to commit a crime so that he could be deported demands answers after criminal was able to get back into Britain despite assault conviction

  • Corisande Wheeler, 51, said it was ‘disgusting’ Rebaz Mohammed returned to UK
  • It is understood he was allowed back into the UK after an assault conviction 

The mother of a student who was stabbed by an Iraqi immigrant who wanted to commit a serious crime so he could be deported has today hit out at Britain’s ‘broken’ asylum system.

Mother-of-two Corisande Wheeler, 51, said her son Ellis Wheeler, 18, was lucky to be alive after he was knifed in the back as he walked home from a computer science lecture at Solent University, Southampton, last year. 

She spoke out after Rebaz Mohammed – who came to the UK illegally on a small boat – was jailed for six years over the horrific attack which was captured on harrowing CCTV footage.

It is understood he came to the UK from Europe on a dinghy soon after he had served a 12-week custodial sentence in the UK for racially aggravated assault when he first visited.

He then targeted Mr Wheeler in a random attack last December because he was disillusioned with life in the UK and believed it would help him get a taxpayer-funded flight home.

Mother-of-two Corisande Wheeler, 51, said her son Ellis Wheeler, 18, was lucky to be alive after he was knifed in the back

This is the shocking moment Rebaz Mohammed stabbed Ellis Wheeler in the back last December

Mrs Wheeler told MailOnline: ‘I find it disgusting – the fact he had already served time and wasn’t deported and was looking for a paid flight home. The sentence was far too short.’

Hitting out at Britain’s immigration policy she said: ‘Something needs to actually happen. We have been going round and round in circles and it’s just been going on for years – it’s been the same thing with each government. This has made me feel more passionate and concerned about it.

‘It gets hush hushed. We’re not allowed to say what we really think for fear of wokism and racism and all that.

‘I don’t know what’s happened to the country. It’s fallen apart and broken.’

Mrs Wheeler told how the family had not been given answers as to why Mohammed – who was a violent offender – had been allowed to roam free unsupervised.

She said: ‘It was said in court that he did it because he wanted to be deported. It seems a strange way to go about it and why was he not deported the first time?

‘He had already been convicted of battery and other offences and had been in prison.

‘Nobody has given us any answers as to why he was able to do this even though he was known to be a dangerous person.

Rebaz Mohammed, 28, (pictured) stabbed Ellis Wheeler, 18, a Solent University student, as he was walking through a park in Southampton hoping it would get him deported back to Iraq

‘Why was he able to come over on a boat to start with? Why was he in a hotel? He didn’t have a job.

‘What happened to my son could have been anybody’s fate. If the stab wound had been a couple of inches to the left it would have been his spine. It could have been his neck. It’s pretty horrific.’

Mrs Wheeler added: ‘No-one wants to go through that. It’s been horrific. You just have to draw a line under it and move on and think things could have been a lot worse but it does highlight the situation.

‘You hear about this problem needing to be sorted and it’s just not happening. We are paying to put people like him up in hotels and this is happening in broad daylight in Southampton.

‘It makes you wonder about the safety of everybody going about their business. It was a random attack but that’s not particularly comforting.’

Ellis – a first year computer science student at Solent University – underwent emergency surgery after suffering a punctured lung in the attack in Hoglands Park, Southampton which happened days before Christmas last year.

Mrs Wheeler believes her son’s life was saved by a quick thinking friend who was luckily passing by and stemmed the flow of blood before paramedics arrived.

Mrs Wheeler – who also has a 15-year-old son – said: ‘It was broad daylight at lunchtime.

‘He was just on his way back from lectures. He was going back to his lodgings and he had just stopped to get some lunch on the way.

The number of asylum applications spiked last year to 74,751, relating to 89,398 individuals – the highest since 2002 

The number of arrivals in small boats peaked at nearly 9,000 a month in the summer 

‘Luckily he was able to run quickly and it was incredibly fortunate that his friend happened to be there.

‘His friend was running late on his way to a lecture, which is not usual for him. He was coming in the opposite direction and his quick thinking helped save Ellis’ life.

‘He saw him running. He didn’t realise what had happened at first but he seemed to know what to do.

‘He stemmed the blood and called the emergency services.

‘The man remained in the park with his weapon and his friend managed to take photographs.

‘The police were quick to arrive – probably because they were aware of him anyway.’

Mrs Wheeler said: ‘I had a call from the hospital just as I was decorating the Christmas tree. It was every parent’s nightmare. I rushed over there. There were armed police around his curtain. They decided he needed surgery and he was in for five days.

READ MORE: Inside £100-a-night taxpayer-funded Bournemouth beach hotel where Iraqi Channel migrant became disillusioned with life in Britain – so stabbed a teenager in bid to be deported

‘Luckily he was fairly fit beforehand and physically he has made a full recovery.’

Describing the impact on her family Mrs Wheeler, who lives in Hayling Island, Hants, said: ‘We have had a fair amount of family trauma. We are just lucky because things could have been a lot worse.

‘My son has gone back to university and he’s getting on with it. Luckily he’s very resilient. We’re made of tougher stuff here.

‘He’s had to delay his exams which he should have taken in January until the end of this year so will have twice as much to study at the end of this year.

‘The sad thing is that he doesn’t really tend to go out. He’s not one for drinking. He’s quite happy to stay in and master his cooking skills.

‘He has recovered physically but something like this has to have had an impact. It can’t not have an effect.

‘The university has been very good. They have offered him counselling and anything that he needs.

‘He’s a very laid person. He’s very gentle and takes everything in his stride. It’s been quite difficult to gauge the impact it has had on him.

‘I’m pretty sure he would talk to me if he was struggling. He thinks it was lucky and it could have been worse. He’s just trying to put it behind him and get on with his course.

A Home Office spokesman said ‘Foreign national offenders who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes will face the full force of the law, including deportation at the earliest opportunity for those eligible.’

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