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Myrtle Cothill, 92-Year-Old Widow, To Be Deported To South Africa After Home Office Ruling

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A frail 92-year-old widow is to be deported back to her native South Africa after immigration authorities refused to allow her to remain in the UK.

Senior immigration officials told Myrtle Cothill she must board a flight at Heathrow Airport next Tuesday, despite entering an appeal, which highlighted her poor health,

Cothill moved to Britain to live with her 66-year-old daughter Mary Wills who now acts as her carer, helping her cope with the crippling effects of an enlarged heart and failing vision. She has no remaining relatives in South Africa.

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Mary Wills (left) with her mother Myrtle Cothill (right)

Cothill arrived in Britain in 2014 and has lived with Mary in Poole, Dorset ever since, the Western Daily Press reported.

Her fight to remain in the UK began at a "first-tier" immigration tribunal. That hearing found Cothill 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.”

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Over 50,000 people have signed a Change.org petition

Mary Wills told the Guardian that more recent discussions with Home Office officials proved fruitless. She said: "We didn’t really get a chance to talk at the last meeting, they [home office officials] just went on and on.

"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.

"My mother is in a terrible state. She is just shaking and shaking.

"It is so cruel. We don’t know what to do."

On Tuesday, Cothill received final word of her deportation in a letter that included details of her Virgin Atlantic flight, scheduled to depart next week.

People are beginning to rally against the decision, with a Change.org petition having reached 50,000 signatures on Thursday.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was among those to share the appeal.

Cothill's barrister, Jan Doerfel, who set up the Change.org petition, said: "This is a heart-breaking situation for Myrtle and Mary, who is looking after her. If Myrtle does not depart, she will be at risk not only of immigration detention but also of enforced removal."

James Davies, Mrs Cothill's immigration adviser at the International Care Network, said: "Myrtle does not have close family members in South Africa willing and or able to look after her, and is dependent on both the emotional and physical care of her daughter in the UK.

"To take a decision to remove her is contrary to every human instinct or duty to care for our elders."

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