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Charity hairdresser faces deportation to Jamaica after moving to UK aged 6

Anthonell Peccoo, 26, from Bristol, has t

Anthonell Peccoo has been living in Bristol for almost two decades and has no family in Jamaica (Picture: BPM)

A hairdresser who has lived in the UK for almost 20 years is fighting deportation to a country he ‘barely knows’.

Anthonell Peccoo, 26, from Bristol, faces being sent to Jamaica after serving time having been convicted of grievous bodily harm (GBH) and drug offences.

The charity worker, who moved to England from Jamaica when he was six, said he is being punished again by being deported to a country where he has no family or connections.

The Home Office previously said it does not routinely comment on individual cases but its ‘priority is to protect the British public’.

It added that it made ‘no apology for seeking to remove dangerous criminals who violate our laws and abuse our hospitality’.

Mr Peccoo said: ‘It makes no sense to me as I have no connection with that country anymore.

‘I have gone above and beyond to show them how sorry I am and that I am a different person but it doesn’t work like that.’

Mr Peccoo fears he will be left vulnerable in Jamaica with no support, adding: ‘It would be as if I was sent to China, to a place that is completely alien to me.

‘I have no memories of Jamaica and the way the system and everything works there is so different.

The 26-year-old opened a not-for-profit hair salon and offers cuts to the less fortunate (Picture: BPM)

‘It would be such a terrible time if I was to be deported.’

The hairdresser was born in Jamaica but said his family moved to Antigua when he was around one as their lives had been at risk. They moved to the UK where his grandmother lived when he was six – but he never got a British passport.

He said his dad wasn’t able to look after him due to his own immigration status and was raised by a family friend in a private care arrangement, meaning he didn’t go through the state care system.

As he reached adult years, Mr Peccoo found that due to his uncertain immigration status, he was unable to sign tenancy agreements, work, or claim benefits and eventually fell into drugs.

He came out of prison in 2017 after serving two years and the following year set up a charity hair salon in Bristol providing cuts for the less fortunate.

Mr Peccoo had been trying to seek UK asylum on the grounds of having family in England and threat to life in Jamaica – but his application was denied by the Home Office in April meaning he now faces deportation.

Mr Peccoo, who lives in a Christian community house in the area of St Pauls, said the moment he was told he faced deportation was ‘heart-wrenching’.

Mr Peccoo says he has no family, no connections and no memories in Jamaica (Picture: BPM)

‘I thought it was going to be a lot softer and not so abrupt – I was expecting them to take into account my life circumstances,’ he said.

‘Having seen other people commit similar or even worse crimes and they
got off, I didn’t think for a second that because of my crime deportation was imminent.

‘I feel like I am being constantly punished for that crime, that I am being constantly reminded of what happened. I have had to turn down so many opportunities.’

More than 36,000 people have now signed a petition calling for a stop to Mr Peccoo’s deportation.

The petition says: ‘The motion for this comes from a sentence which Anthonell fully served four years ago and has completed probation.

‘This involved a crime in which Anthonell was attacked by a large group in an attempted robbery. In attempting to defend himself, Anthonell was convicted for grievous bodily harm.’

Mr Peccoo – who also does volunteer modelling for student fashion show Fuze Bristol – said that, if he was deported to Jamaica, he would be vulnerable to exploitation on his own in an unfamiliar country.

‘If someone was to ask me, I would say I am Jamaican, but culturally I am British and I am Bristolian through and through,’ he said.

‘A whole 20 years, I have been here all my life – in my childhood, teenage years and as a young adult.

‘Jamaica is a country I have no family in and have no memories of.

‘I feel like I belong here, despite the way the I am being treated by the Home Office, the microaggressions from British people and the racism you experience every day.

‘Living in England is what I know.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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