A frail 92-year-old widow has been ordered to pack her bags and leave the UK where she is cared for by her only child – despite having no close family in her native South Africa.
Myrtle Cothill, who has heart problems, and cannot walk unaided, is looked after by her only daughter, Mary Wills, in Poole, Dorset.
But her application to stay in Britain has been turned down and she has been booked on to a flight back to South Africa next Tuesday.
Myrtle Cothill, whose father fought for Britain in the First and Second World Wars, is also losing her eyesight and relies on the care of her 66-year-old daughter, Mary Wills, who is a British citizen.
She has lived at her daughter’s home in Poole, Dorset, since February 2014 and applied for leave to remain in the country as an adult dependent on the grounds of human rights.
More than 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for the pensioner to be allowed to stay in the UK, and devastated Mrs Wills said she fears the move would kill her mother.
In a statement on the change.org petition, she wrote: “My mother just cannot live on her own, and emotionally, to her as well as for myself, it would really tear strips out of our heart and probably would kill my mother, and maybe myself as well.”
Former Conservative shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe has raised the case with ministers and called for the pensioner to be allowed to stay in Britain.
She told the Press Association: “It is brutal beyond belief and I am deeply ashamed that a Conservative Government is doing this.
“She is very frail – I have seen her, I’ve met her, I can testify personally that she is extremely frail.
“And when I think that people who climb in on the backs of lorries and they are allowed to stay, but this old lady in her 90s, wholly dependent on her daughter, is being forced back to South Africa, it just beggars belief.
“I want to know if this is David Cameron’s idea of British values.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.
“The decision made on this case has been upheld by two separate, independent tribunals which considered the full range of evidence presented.”