Australian graphic designer who was stabbed defending vulnerable women on bus is told to leave Britain after UK Border Agency ignore pleas for compassionTim Smits, 33, was knifed in the leg and stomach trying to protect a pregnant woman and elderly passengers on a busThe graphic designer had asked UK Border Agency for an extension to his visa after he spent months recovering from the attack
21:22 GMT, 6 December 2012
A hero stabbed as he tried to protect a pregnant woman and elderly passengers from a gang of yobs has been told to leave the country because he has outstayed his visa.
Tim Smits, 33, was knifed in the stomach and leg defending the victims, but the graphic designer has been told to return to Australia by the UK Border Agency.
He was honoured by a national charity and given a citizenship award after he intervened to stop yobs picking on elderly women with shopping trollies in September last year.
Deported: Tim Smits, 33, who was stabbed defending a pregnant woman and elderly passengers on a bus in London has been told to leave the UK
Mr Smits later applied for a compassionate extension to his visa after he spent months recovering from the violent attack. But despite being honoured by the Andrew Carnegie Hero Trust Fund and being given an Islington council citizenship award, the agency ruled against his application.
Yesterday, Mr Smits, originally from Melbourne, told the Mail: ‘I’m disgusted by the Border Agency’s decision. It’s very difficult to swallow.
‘It seems back to front that terrorists like Abu Qatada can stay in Britain but that people who risk their lives for their community are told to pack their bags.
‘It’s been a pretty rough year for me since the attack and this letter was the nail in the coffin.’
He said that the stress of the violent attack coupled with the Border Agency’s letter had caused him to have a breakdown and had prevented him from working for the last 14 months.
He added: ‘’The most disgusting thing
is that when they rejected my appeal, they said my experience wasn’t
compassionate or compelling enough for them to make an exception.
‘It has made me question whether I really want to live in a country that wants to kick me out.
‘This has messed up all my plans. My
family recently visited from Australia and planned to travel to Europe,
but I couldn’t join them because I was scared I wouldn’t be allowed back
Wounded: Mr Smits shows where he was stabbed in the attack in 2011
Injured: Mr Smits was stabbed in the leg during the incident
He has also helped to organise a creative festival for disillusioned young men to try to steer them away from a life of crime, but has had to put the project on hold following the letter.
In September last year, Mr Smits, who lives in Hackney, said that he had stood up to a gang of yobs who were harassing elderly ladies and a pregnant woman on a bus.
The gang shouted abuse at him on the journey between Dalston and Bromley-by-Bow and one member came over to his seat, stood over him and spat in his face.
Mr Smits was hit in the head before he managed to pin his attacker’s arms, but he was then grabbed from behind and knifed before being taken to hospital.
He was knifed by Sanchez Brown, then
19, of Hackney, London, who was jailed at Snaresbrook crown court in
July after admitting wounding with intent.
Blake Mehmet, also then 19 and of Hackney, was jailed for affray for punching Mr Smits.
In an interview at the time, he said: ‘I’d do it again in a flash’ and said he was ‘unlucky this time’ because he was stabbed.
‘He threatened my life,’ said Mr
Smits. ‘I said, “Really in front of all those witnesses on the bus in
broad daylight, you want to do that with witnesses”
Scene: The attack happened on a bus travelling from Dalston, north east London (file picture)
‘That’s when he really scared me by saying, “I don’t care – I’ll mess you up in front of all these people.”’
He added: ‘Getting into a fist fight is one thing but when there’s a weapon involved it’s like stop, stop, this stops now.
‘I don’t come from a well-off family, I come from a family that taught me good values and to respect people. Everything I have I have worked for and I just wish a lot of these kids would do the same.’
A UKBA spokesman said: ‘Mr Smits’s application was refused on October 11 this year. We had previously written to Mr Smits requesting details to support his application, however we did not receive a response.
‘He has chosen to appeal against this decision and proceedings are ongoing. It is only right that the rules apply to everyone.’