The deportation of the father, who grew up in Liverpool, has torn the family apart.
As the Home Office attempts to deport him for a non-violent offence he committed eight years ago, a father faces leaving his young children.
To safeguard his identity, the 31-year-old used the alias Pet Davies to chronicle a grueling seven-year battle to prevent deportation to Zimbabwe, which he fled when he was 14 and has no ties.
Pet, who had relocated to Liverpool after a few years in London, made a disastrous error in 2013 when he began stealing money from his employer, an offense for which he admits “there is absolutely no explanation.”
Pet pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months in prison, but he was shocked to learn that his visa would be withdrawn as a result of his crime.
He was brought into custody about a fortnight ago and was set to board a repatriation flight that was set to depart tonight – until his lawyer was able to secure a last-minute reprieve and a ray of hope.
Pet, who has a “highly aggressive” form of HIV and worries that his precise medicine regimen will be unavailable in Africa, putting his life in jeopardy, is terrified of returning to Zimbabwe.
In an article for The Independent, he expressed his fear that his two children, ages two and seven, will believe he is abandoning them because he “doesn’t love them.”
“The other night, I was on the phone with my two-year-old son,” he explained. He’s back in Liverpool, where I grew up, while I’m at Heathrow Airport, hundreds of miles away. He was telling me how much he missed me and how much he wished I would return home. He inquired as to when we will be able to play football again.
“I’m not leaving because I abandoned him. I’m not here because I’m in immigration detention, awaiting deportation to Zimbabwe.
“I’m not leaving because I don’t care for him. But I’m concerned that if Priti Patel’s Home Office deports me, that’s what he and his 7-year-old sister would believe.”
Pet claims that after his sentence, he attempted to turn his life around, despite the fact that he was uninformed of the severe ramifications of his conviction.
“There is absolutely no explanation for that, and I’m not searching for one – I pleaded guilty in,” he added.