THE COMPANY which has housed asylum seekers in the Glasgow hotel where a man was shot dead and six were seriously injured in a bloody stabbing attack has broken its silence over the events.

A knifeman attacked multiple people including at least two staff members after storming the Park Inn in West George Street.

Six men including two teenagers are being treated in hospital for their injuries, including a 42-year unarmed police officer Constable David Whyte who was said to be "critical but stable".

Earlier reports suggested two other people had died at the hotel, which is one of those at the centre of a row over the 'forced' movement of hundreds of asylum seekers in Glasgow and their treatment as vulnerable people since the coronavirus crisis started.

The Mears Group, which has the Home Office contract to house asylum seekers in Glasgow has been heavily criticised for its decision to move around 400 asylum seekers in Glasgow claiming it was necessary because of problems securing lets during the lockdown, which campaigners say had put the physical and mental health of asylum seekers at risk.

Mears, however, insisted on Wednesday, two days before the Park Inn attack it had kept people safe from Covid-19, claiming the “unprecedented arrangements” it made during the pandemic are “proving effective”.


They invited politicians last week to invite them to a briefing about the situation and said on Wednesday  that asylum seekers would be returning to individual accommodation from next week.

The Mears Group, the private firm  had been referring journalists to the Home Office in the wake of the bloody events of Friday.

Late on Friday night, the company broke its silence with a spokesman saying it was "deeply saddened and shocked" by the tragic events in the heart of Glasgow.

It added: "We are contracted by the Home Office to provide housing and support services to asylum seekers in Scotland. We will not anticipate a live police investigation, but we can confirm that the attack happened in a hotel where we are housing asylum seekers during the lockdown period.

"We will provide more details as we are able to and our priority is to look after the welfare of our service users who will no doubt be traumatised by this terrible event. Tonight, we also think of the staff in the hotel and our colleagues at the scene – all are in our thoughts."

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said after the attack that from a "social work and a welfare point of view" it had been made clear "many times" that they do not support asylum seekers being moved to hotels.

"I wrote to the Home Office and to Mears, when they started to do that at the start of this lockdown period. But we don't know yet and we can't say at this point that this has anything to do with what happened," she said.

"But that is a serious issue and a disturbing issue, and it is something we need to continue to campaign on.

"Glasgow has been through a lot, and we have always recovered. But this is devastating. It is a tragedy for the city. Regardless of how resilient we are, we will not forget this day for a long time."

The horrifying incident came after there were protests in George Square, just five minutes walk from the hotel, about the treatment of asylum seekers.

Protests were held on Glasgow’s streets during lockdown to protest at the treatment of asylum seekers in the hotels, left with no money and complains over the quality of food.

READ MORE: Park Inn attack -  Six injured in Glasgow hotel stabbing

On Wednesday, last week, No Evictions Glasgow accused "far-right groups" of trying to "hi-jack" their peaceful demonstration.

A lack of social distancing, poor-quality food and no drinking water were reported by those staying at hotels after weekly financial support was removed.

On Wednesday, this week, Mears, said it did not recognise some of the concerns and said there was a “disconnect” between the worries of some campaigners and what they were being told from those in hotels.

Mears, which was awarded the £1bn government contract in 2019,  admitted it was a “blanket decision” to move all asylum seekers out of their homes into hotels in March after lockdown was announced.

After a media briefing on Wednesday,  a spokesperson for Mears stated that chief operating officer, John Taylor had been wrong to state that assessments were not carried out prior to moving asylum seekers into hotels.

My Taylor said that once asylum seekers had been moved into hotels it became “obvious” that this setting “wasn’t appropriate” for some people, including pregnant women, people who had suffered trafficking and family groups, and that action was then taken to identify these groups and “safely” move them back out of the hotels and into smaller properties.

He said that all those currently in the asylum system would be housed, saying: “No one is going to be homeless, that is absolutely clear.”

He acknowledged that “anyone living in a hotel for three months is going to find that challenging” but insisted he “didn’t recognise” complaints about mouldy food, saying Mears workers had talked to residents on a daily basis.

Mr Taylor said: "Organisations have an agenda to campaign against the asylum system, we recognise that."

He added: “People have a right to demonstrate. Conditions in hotels are not terrible. There is a disconnect between what we are doing and what people think we are doing.”

He added during the press briefing: “We needed to make a decision, so we made the decision, rightly or wrongly, to move everyone from the initial accommodation apartments into hotels, and that was a blanket decision, because we felt that we could assess and support people better in that setting."

On the cash and food Mears said that because the people were being provided with all food and essential items, the Home Office rules are they do not receive the £35 a week payment.

It said it worked to change menus where it was necessary following complaints.

It said it will not pursue lock changes after its predecessor Serco, was roundly condemned for threatening 300 with destitution.

Mr Taylor said: “We would never turn up with a locksmith”. He said if someone had been refused asylum and was not longer entitled to support, they would work with them to ask where they want to go."

Mears came under scrutiny after the death of Adnan Olbeh, a Syrian asylum seeker who was found dead in a room in McLay's Hotel, Glasgow last month.

At the time, Ms Qureshi urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to act to avoid further harm. She described the treatment of asylum seekers during the pandemic as "beyond comprehension".

She told Ms Patel she must act to alleviate the hardship caused by the lockdown changes "before a further tragedy occurs".

She said: "There are many other 'Adnans' living in these hotels. This would go some way to ease the hardship they are currently suffering."