Police seeking a man over the murder of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky are considering the theory he may have fled the UK dressed as a veiled Muslim woman.
It is understood West Yorkshire Police – who have not commented on reports about the veil theory – regard it only as one of a number of possibilities.
The wanted man, Mustaf Jamma, is the brother of Yusuf Jamma who was found guilty of the Pc’s murder this week.
Mustaf Jamma is believed to be in his native Somalia.
The 26-year-old was released from jail six months before Pc Beshenivsky was killed.
He was considered for deportation after his release but was allowed to stay in the UK because Somalia was thought too dangerous.
Some newspaper reports have suggested Mr Jamma stole his sister’s passport and wore a full niqab (a veil that totally obscures the face) to evade checks at Heathrow airport between Christmas Day last year and New Year’s Day.
Pc Beshenivsky’s widower condemned human rights laws for preventing Mustaf Jamma’s deportation.
Paul Beshenivsky told the Daily Mail: “It is absolutely disgusting that this man – a criminal who acts like an animal – is shown human rights. What about my kids, my wife, my family?”
Shadow home secretary David Davis said the fact that anyone could be allowed through passport control wearing a veil was “barely credible”.
“Doing so when an All Persons Bulletin for murder has been issued demonstrates that our borders are not just porous but non-existent,” he added.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg has said if the reports are true it “beggars belief” that there are no visual facial checks when a person leaves the country at an airport.
The Home Office, which is responsible for immigration, said visual checks were always carried out on people arriving in the country but checks on those leaving were done on an “intelligence-led basis”.
BAA, which owns and operates Heathrow airport, said it was the responsibility of individual airlines to confirm the identity of passengers at check-in and boarding gates.
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “People coming into the country are asked to lift their veils so identity can be confirmed.
“It seems airport security were only carrying out random checks on people leaving the country and that needs to be looked at.”
The BBC News website was contacted by one reader who said his wife was always asked to remove her veil when checking in at UK airports.
Jonathan Marshall said there would not be a problem “provided that it is a female who conducts this identity check in a private location – which has always so far been the case”.
West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Tom McGhie said he and his colleagues had concerns over the way Mustaf Jamma was apparently able to leave the country.
He said: “We have concerns that someone who was wanted for a serious offence was able to avoid detection and escape the country by this type of subterfuge.”
On Tuesday the jury in the trial of four men over 38-year-old Pc Beshenivsky’s death was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on a final count of robbery.
Three men have been found guilty of killing the officer, who was shot after an armed raid in Bradford in 2005. Another man had earlier admitted murder.
The jury could not decide if Raza Ul-Haq Aslam, 25 – who was cleared of murder, manslaughter and firearms offences – was guilty of robbery, and a re-trial was ordered.
As well as Mustaf Jamma another man called Piran Ditta Khan, whom the prosecution alleged was the “architect of the robbery”, remains on the run from police.
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