Woman, 92, ordered to leave family and return to South Africa

22 Feb 2016 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A 92-year-old woman is facing being deported to South Africa in a UK visa row which her daughter says could kill her.

Myrtle Cothill was born in South Africa while it was under British rule and her father fought for Britain the First World War. She has been living in the UK since 2014 with her daughter Mary Wills in Dorset, who has been providing care for her.

Mrs Cothill suffers from ill health including vision and hearing problems and an enlarged heart. But the Home Office said her “condition was not deemed to be life-threatening” and that “suitable medical treatment” was available for her in South Africa.

Mrs Wills said her mother has received notification she has been booked on to a flight to South Africa and said she was told the Red Cross would care for her when she arrived.

Mrs Wills told The Guardian that because her mother receives a £300 pension each month on behalf of her late husband, she is financially independent of the UK state. It also means that she would not be eligible for Red Cross support in South Africa.

“When we said where would my mother go when she got to Johannesburg, they said she could go to the Red Cross and get help,” said Mrs Wills.

“My mother is in a terrible state. She is just shaking and shaking. It is so cruel. We don’t know what to do. She should be with her family. The heartbreak of leaving us at her age could finish her off and finish me off too.”

Mrs Cothill applied for leave to remain in the UK on human rights grounds as an adult dependent. But the application was rejected by a tribunal and then the court of appeal, which said in its decision that the elderly woman had “obtained entry to the United Kingdom by deception, and that she and her daughter arranged their affairs with the deliberate intention of making her removal difficult”.