Myrtle Cothill is enjoying life after ‘torturous’ immigration case

We wrote recently about a case of an elderly woman (92) who was supposed to go back to South Africa after her adult dependent relative visa was refused. Most doctors would advise against ordering a frail nonagenarian onto a plane against their will and forcing them to take a 12 hour flight across the world. But earlier this year it emerged the Home Office had booked Myrtle Cothill, a 92-year-old widow from South Africa, onto a flight to Johannesburg – an upheaval her doctor warned could kill her. Myrtle, who has heart problems, is losing her eyesight and can’t walk unaided, is cared for by her daughter, Mary Wills in Poole, Dorset. In a ruling which seemed to fly in the face of common sense, the Home Office ordered her removal from the UK.

Mary, 66, enlisted the help of an immigration barrister, who organised a petition protesting the decision. Over 150,000 people rallied behind Myrtle and demanded she be granted leave to remain in the UK.Thanks to the thousands of people who spoke up on her behalf, Myrtle is now living with her daughter safe in the knowledge she can’t be turfed out the country: on 17 March she was granted leave to remain in the UK for two and a half years.

The Government finally recognised that to remove her would be in breach of her human rights.Myrtle will be able to apply for further leave to remain on the same grounds prior to the expiry of her visa – we would expect her to be granted another visa.

Mary says her mother was “over the moon” to receive the good news.

“She started crying – so did I…Her face is glowing now the burden’s been lifted.It was a torturous and cruel time we went through…Mum is looking a lot better. She’s more relaxed.” Now she has begun to recover from the stress and depression that engulfed her, Myrtle spends her time listening to classical music, going to church and spending time with her daughter.

Currently it is “almost impossible” for British citizens to bring their elderly parents to live with them in the UK toward the end of their lives. The petition for Myrtle…asked the UK Government for a parliamentary debate on the immigration rule on adult dependent relatives – we are still awaiting the response.

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