Zimbabwean caught with hammer in Corby given asylum despite 'dreadful record' of 68 convictions for drugs, violence and blackmail

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‘This is a dreadful catalogue of serious convictions’

A man who has a ‘dreadful’ record of dozens of serious convictions for drugs and violence has appeared before the courts yet again.

Zimbabwean Ashley Simbarashe Maparura, 34, was before Northampton Crown Court this week on weapons charges, where it was revealed that he was recently granted leave to remain in the UK despite the horrifying list of offences he has admitted to.

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The court was told that Maparura has 68 previous convictions committed across several counties.

Ashley Maparura admitted possession of an offensive weapon in Corby. Image: National WorldAshley Maparura admitted possession of an offensive weapon in Corby. Image: National World
Ashley Maparura admitted possession of an offensive weapon in Corby. Image: National World

At about 1.50am On February 16 this year CCTV operators in Corby spotted two men behind the shops in Gainsborough Road, Corby.

Maparura, of Nether Jackson Court, Northampton, was carrying a hammer and his pal Reece Cruickshank was carrying a wrench.

Operators followed the men on their screens as they caused a ‘commotion’. They were then seen running away from the scene.

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Initially Maparura and his companion were accused of an attempted robbery but the victim declined to co-operate with the investigation so only charges of possession of offensive weapons were brought before the court. He gave a no comment interview to police.

Proseucting, Carrie-Ann Garness also told His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo about a separate offence committed in February 2023, for which the defnendant fell to be sentenced.

During that incident was arrested on other matters and was found to be carrying a twisted cigarette between in penis and testicles containing heroin and cocaine for personal use.

He has an unenviable list of offences on his record, including robbery, supplying and smuggling drugs and drug dealing, committed across several different counties.

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The court heard that he was found guilty of knife possession in 2017. He also has five convictions for failing to comply with court orders.

Back in 2018 Maparura was jailed for 16 weeks for shoplifting and cannabis possession. While serving that sentence he was again jailed for an alarming attack on a motorist at the roadside. He was said to have hit the motorist with a hammer but he denied that element of the charge.

He was also convicted of possession of cocaine in 2019.

In July 2019 Maparura caused a major incident at Curry’s in Kettering after he stole two vacuum cleaners then poured a clear substance outside the store, which turned out to be an incapacitant spray. He was jailed for a year.

In 2020 he was jailed again for smuggling drugs into a detention centre.

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The same year, he was jailed following a ‘night of madness’ where he rammed into police cars that were chasing him.

Then in July 2022 he was given a three-year sentence for controlled drugs offences and breaching a suspended sentence order.

And in July 2023 he was jailed for 31 weeks for possession of a hammer and a meat cleaver.

After his release, in October last year Maparura, was jailed for 16 weeks for possession of cannabis, pregabalin, diazepam and zopiclone.

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Then on November 23 he was given a suspended sentence at Northampton Magistrates’ Court for possession of an offensive weapon.

But just weeks later he was in Corby and committing the latest offence.

Barrister Rajesh Pabary, for Maparura, said that his client had children aged 10, 11, and 12 but admitted he had a ‘long and extensive history of offending.’

"This is partially to do with drugs and partially to do with funding himself as he was not initially allowed to work when he arrived in this country,” he said.

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He told the court that ‘the situation resolved itself two months ago’ when he was given leave to remain in the UK.

That means he can now find legitimate work. He had also managed to get clean from drugs while in prison and was attempting to gain his forklift ticket and ‘turn around his life’.

"He wants to apologise for his actions,” said Mr Pabary.

Judge Mayo said: “The courts take very seriously any public display of weapons when they’re brandished or used to present a threat to people who are out and about.

"You have a dreadful record for using weapons.

"You have been an asylum seeker since your arrival from Zimbabwe and I am glad that you have now been allowed to remain in this country but during that time you have amassed a huge amount of antecedents and have been gripped by drugs. This is a dreadful catalogue of serious convictions.”

He gave Maparura a jail term of one year and four months.

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Reece Cruickshank, of Manor Meadows, Fotheringhay Road, Tansor, was charged with possession of a wrench in connection with the same incident. He has pleaded guilty but was unable to be sentenced this week as he had no legal representation. He will be sentenced on May 28.

- The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 held that anyone convicted of a serious crime resulting in a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, who is considered a danger to the United Kingdom, could be denied asylum and will be considered for removal from the United Kingdom. But decision-makers must balance the risk of exposing that person to persecution in their home country.

No more is known about why Maparura was granted asylum, but Amnesty International says there have been ‘systematic’ human rights violations in Zimbabwe since the rise to power of Robert Mugabe in 1980.

The international organisation says the government violates the rights to shelter, food, freedom of movement and residence, freedom of assembly and the protection of the law. There are assaults on the media, the political opposition, civil society activists, and human rights defenders.