08.03.19

‘Betrayed’ foster carers of Parsons Green bomber sue Surrey council

The foster parents of the Parson Green bomber are suing Surrey County Council for negligence after the authority placed him in their home without telling them he had been “trained to kill by ISIS.”

Ahmed Hassan was sentenced to life aged 18 last year for carrying out an attack with a home-made bomb on a London Underground train in 2017, which injured 51 people.

The Iraqi teenage asylum seeker constructed the bomb on the kitchen table of his foster home while his foster parents were away on holiday.

Now Ron and Penny Jones are pursuing legal action against the council that placed him in their home, describing him as “merely a troubled young person.”

Hassan’s foster parents claim the council failed to disclose key information about the danger he posed, and Surrey CC is defending the couple’s claim, which is being crowd funded.

The couple have looked after nearly 270 children over 47 years and were awarded an MBE in 2010 for their dedication to vulnerable young people.

But following Hassan’s conviction, the county council said the couple were no longer allowed to foster, and Mr and Mrs Jones said they have been “betrayed” and “hung out to dry” by the local authority.

Penny Jones told the BBC: “How was it our fault they put him here, they didn't tell us the truth, they should have been honest with us to start with.

“They told me that he had tried to kill himself and would only be released if he was fostered into a stable home so we took him in.

"We've lost everything, we've lost our income, we've lost our will to get up in the morning, because our life has revolved around children for over 40 years. Our life is empty.”

The Home Office Intelligence Committee published a report on Hassan which revealed he had been trained in ISIS camps and that Surrey County Council and the Home Office knew this prior to placing him with the Jones couple.

Ron and Penny Jones had raised concerns about Hassan with the council, reporting that he had been taking calls in the middle of the night, and last June a review into the handling of Hassan revealed a series of errors by Surrey County Council and the police.

Other foster carers have supported the couple and have staged protests outside the Surrey County Hall.

Sarah Anderson, chair of the Foster Care Workers Union, said the council had treated their foster parents as “disposable” and stated: “Penny and Ron were literally thrown on the scrap heap due to Surrey's failings.”

Surrey County Council said in a statement: “We are defending this claim however we acknowledge this has been a very difficult time for Mr and Mrs Jones and their family.”

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