Despite masterminding horrific torture in his home country, Phillip Machemedze has been granted permission to stay in the UK, and lives with his wife at an address in Barton Hill.
The Evening Post can reveal that Mr Machemedze has been working as a support worker for Milestones Trust, a Bristol charity which supports people with dementia, learning disabilities and mental health needs, but no longer works for them.
The trust manages nearly 60 nursing and residential care homes across Bristol and the surrounding area, many of them small “family” houses for just four or five residents.
A recent immigration tribunal found that Mr Machemedze had inflicted terrible injuries on political opponents of the Mugabe regime, and ruled that he was involved in “savage acts of extreme violence”.
But despite the details of his actions – including smashing a man’s jaw with a pair of pliers – immigration judges said he could not be deported.
They said the 46-year-old, who is HIV positive, could himself face torture if he was returned home, and both he and his wife – who was granted asylum – can stay in Britain indefinitely.
Mr Machemedze worked as a bodyguard to a senior minister as part of Mugabe’s feared Central Intelligence Organisation.
Court documents exposed the horrendous crimes he committed as a state-sponsored torturer.
The tribunal heard he smashed one victim’s jaw with a pair of pliers, before pulling out a tooth. Another victim, a farmer accused of supporting the rival Movement for Democratic Change, was shocked with electric cables, slapped, beaten and punched unconscious.
On another occasion, a woman MDC member was taken to an underground cell where she was stripped naked and whipped. Mr Machemedze admitted putting salt in her wounds.
He also stripped a man naked and told him he would be forced to have sex with his own daughters if he did not talk.
Concerns were raised about Mr Machemedze within Milestones Trust earlier this week, the charity told the Post, and they took steps to prevent him returning to work because they believed he may have used false documentation to get the job.
Asylum seekers are not generally allowed to work while their claims are being decided, but they are allowed to apply for permission to work if they have waited for more than a year for an initial decision on their asylum claim. It is not clear if Mr Machemedze has this permission.
A spokesperson for the charity said they had been shocked to find out who Mr Machemedze really was. They would not confirm which care home he had worked at.
“We informed the police immediately, and although they were unable to confirm his identity at this time, we took immediate action to prevent his return to work,” they said.
“We are concerned that he appeared to have valid documentation from the Home Office allowing him to reside and work in the UK.
“The safety and security of our service users and staff is our primary concern at this time. We have taken the necessary steps to reassure and support everybody at the home.
“The nature of the crimes as reported are wholly abhorrent and clearly completely incompatible with working in the social care sector. These reports have come as an enormous shock to everybody at the trust.”
Mr Machemedze told the court this week that he “initially enjoyed his job” in Zimbabwe but “soon had enough of the torture”.
He left the country and came to Britain in 2000 on a visitor visa. Eight years later, in December 2008, he claimed asylum along with his wife Febbie. Their daughter also lives in Britain, but two other children are in Zimbabwe.
An immigration tribunal ruled his crimes were so horrendous that he was barred from claiming asylum.
But the judge ruled that he could not be sent home because of the likelihood he will be tortured or executed by the Mugabe regime – breaching his rights under Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
His wife was granted asylum.
In his ruling, Judge David Archer said: “I find the respondent has produced a compelling case that the first appellant has committed crimes against humanity. I reject his claim that he was acting under duress. The first appellant was deeply involved in savage acts of extreme violence.
“I find that the appellant’s protected rights under Articles 2 and 3 of the Human Rights Convention will be breached by returning him to Zimbabwe.
“Those rights are absolute and whatever crimes he has committed, he cannot be returned to face the highly likely prospect of torture and execution without trial.”
Home Secretary Theresa May has launched a bid to overturn the ruling.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government is disappointed with the judgment and has requested permission to appeal.
“The Immigration Judge agreed that this individual was not entitled to asylum, but allowed his appeal in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. We consider all asylum applications on their individual merits. However, it is the government’s policy that the UK should not be a refuge for war criminals or those who have committed crimes against humanity or genocide.
“Where someone has been found not to need protection, we expect them to leave voluntarily. For those who choose not to do so, we will seek to enforce their departure.”
The Evening Post attempted to contact Mr Machemedze for comment but there was no reply at his Barton Hill home or by phone.