A Home Office flight deporting convicted offenders to Jamaica has left the UK, despite a last-minute legal challenge.
Downing Street said 17 people were deported, but 25 others had been stopped because of the court order.
On Monday night a judge ordered the Home Office not to deport men who had not been granted adequate access to legal advice in the Heathrow detention centres. They had been denied access to working sim cards following a mobile phone signal outage that prevented them from consulting lawyers.
11 of those being deported are Jamaican nationals who have been convicted of criminal offences and given prison sentences of 12 months or more.
In a statement, the prime minister’s spokesman said “we bitterly regret” the court decision that stopped the 25 people from leaving and will urgently appeal.
“The offences which these people were responsible for include one manslaughter, one firearms offence, seven violent offences, two which are in the category of rape or sexual offences and 14 drugs offences,” the spokesman said.
He added: “We make no apology whatsoever for seeking to remove serious foreign national offenders.”