Sprinter who lost family to Ebola allowed to stay in UK

Jimmy Thoronka who was found sleeping rough a year after competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has been granted leave to remain.

The Sierra Leonean sprinter who absconded from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and was found sleeping rough on the streets of London has been granted leave to remain in the UK after a long legal battle.

The Home Office had attempted to deport Thoronka but a court ruled in his favour last month.In a psychiatric report, Thoronka was said to be in a chronic traumatised state exacerbated by the lengthy legal process and having discovered that Ebola had killed his mother and four siblings since he left his home country.

Thoronka, who ran in the 4x100m relay at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, had been homeless for about five months when the Guardian journalist Diane Taylor first met him living in Burgess Park, Southwark. He had survived by begging or carrying people’s heavy shopping in exchange for money. Thoronka washed himself and his few clothes in public toilets.

Thoronka’s mother, a nurse who adopted him when he was five, contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients at a police-run hospital in Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital. She died, as did three of Thoronka’s sisters, a brother and members of his extended family.

Additional Reporting: , The Guardian.

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