Severely Autistic 21-year-old Falsley Imprisoned and Facing Deportation Order
Osime Brown moved from Jamaica to Dudley in the West Midlands with his mother and siblings when he was 4 years old. His father lives in America. After years of being failed by education and social care services— “He was moved 28 times to different places within 12 months by social services”—as with some of the other vulnerable young people whose stories are told on this site, as a teenager, Osime was the victim of ‘mate crimes’ (see Lucas' Story). This is the situation where mentally vulnerable young people are targeted by criminals precisely because they can exploit them for their own ends.
During his time in the various care placements, Osime was arrested for—along with a group of friends—stealing a phone from another young person. The case took two years to come to trial, but Osime was eventually sentenced to five years in prison under the now discredited and rescinded law of joint enterprise (see Alex's Story and Trewen's Story).
"Osime was arrested in 2016 over the alleged theft of a cell phone. In 2018, two years later when he was
old enough to be charged as an adult, Osime stood trial and was convicted of theft. This happened despite
witnesses for his defense—those who actually took the phone—pleading guilty and testifying that Osime
tried to stop the older teenagers from taking the phone." NeuroClastic, June 27 2020
As Osime’s mother, Joan Fairclough, reports, “They exploited his disability. He was an easy target to push the blame on to. His autism means he always likes to please the people he’s with. He can be easily led and manipulated because he is very trusting.” Describing the moment Osime was sentenced in court, Joan adds: “He had a blank look on his face. He was looking out of space. During the court proceedings he even climbed up and pointed to himself on the monitor that was showing them walking around in the shopping centre. He did not comprehend what was happening.”
On commencing his jail sentence at HMP Stocken in Rutland, the prison’s healthcare service assessed Osime as suffering from “an underlying anxiety disorder and emotionally unstable personality disorder, and post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD).” Yet on her first visit to the prison, Joan noticed that her son's arm was bandaged covering scars from Osime self-harming by slashing his arms. She had not been informed of these injuries.
“He’s not in a good state. Last time I visited him he was
crying because his tummy hurt. He laid his head in my lap
and said: ‘Mummy my belly, my belly’.” Joan, a former
psychiatric nurse, later discovered that Osime had
fainted a number of times in jail because of an underlying
heart condition aggravated by large doses of antipsychotic
If the reader is beginning to wander what Osime is doing in
prison rather than receiving the statutory health and social
services he is entitled to—in fact it was the failure of these
services that led to absurdity of the charges and prison
sentence in the first place—things were to get much worse.
As a result of the overuse of sedatives and anti-psychotic, Osime has developed a heart condition since being in prison and has undergone two operations, including the implant of a loop recording device to monitor his heart. During the first surgery, the surgeons did not administer enough anesthesia, which left him awake throughout the entire procedure. Joan Fairclough, terrified that her son will be killed in prison, continues the story:
"They did an angiogram through is right arm, and immediately after the procedure, the cuff was
placed back onto his right wrist, where the catheter was inserted; his wrist was swollen and he was
in great distress, but they did not care! He was also double cuffed and chained to an officer. He
could not eat properly because both hands were cuffed together. He was stripped of his dignity."
On top of the abuses already described, and clearly having learned nothing from the Windrush scandal, in August 2018, the Home Office issued Osime with a removal notice based on a series of minor criminal offences he committed as a teenager culminating in the five-year sentence for stealing the mobile phone. The deportation to Jamaica was set for 3 December 2018, until a last-minute appeal was lodged. That was dismissed pending a final appeal in the immigration courts in 2020.
“The young man’s mother and siblings, along with a clinical psychologist and many who know Brown,
believe his deportation marks a culmination of failings by statutory agencies over the years to
acknowledge his learning disability, and subsequent failure to provide him with adequate support to cope
with the challenges that come with it.” The Independent, 15 March 2020
The first thing Osime asked his mother on being issued with his deportation order was whether there was a bus he could take from Jamaica to visit her in Dudley. If he does not die in a UK prison, Joan is convinced that if her son is deported to Jamaica he will die there. “He wouldn’t cope. If he can’t even cope here, how is he going to cope in an environment and a culture he doesn’t know? He would be exploited because of his vulnerability.”
A psychological assessment on Osime carried out in October 2019, states that the way in which his life was managed when he was in care was “wholly misguided and extremely damaging”, and that had he not been placed in care he may not have found his way into a life of criminality. “There is every reason to believe that, had [his mother] been listened to and instead of removing Brown from his family when he was barely 16, it would have been possible to support his mother to manage him in a situation where people loved him and who were prepared to impose a structure on his life”.
Visit crowdfunding appeal to prevent Osime’s deportation here
Sign Change.Org petition here