Sickly 92-year-old SA woman allowed to stay in UK

2016-03-06 15:45
Myrtle Cothill (

Myrtle Cothill (

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Johannesburg - The UK's Home Office has decided to allow 92-year-old South African Myrtle Cothill to remain in the country with her daughter.

"Right in time for Mother's Day, the lawyers... have been told by the Home Office that the original refusal of leave to remain has been reconsidered in light of the fresh evidence provided...," Cothill's barrister Jan Doerfel said in a statement.

In 2014, Cothill had applied for leave to remain in the UK with her only daughter, Mary. This had been refused in September the same year, said Doerfel.

Her appeal to the Immigration Tribunal had also been refused on the basis that her daughter could visit her in South Africa.

In February, the Home Office ordered Cothill to report to an immigration officer at Heathrow Airport so that she could be deported to South Africa on February 23.

Three days before that the Home Office decided to suspend the removal in order to consider medical evidence.

Medical evidence provided by consultant psychiatrist Dr Benjamin Robinson and submitted to the Home Office showed that Cothill had suffered from severe clinical depression and anxiety which she had developed since learning that she would be separated from her daughter.

Doerfel said that when Cothill was told that she would be allowed to remain in the UK she started crying.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted off me," she was quoted as saying.

"I want to thank everyone who has supported me and God bless them all. It has made a tremendous difference to me."

Cothill said the last month had been "horrendous".

Her daughter, Mary, thanked Doerfel, immigration advisor James Davies from International Care Network, who had helped her mother and everyone who had supported them.

"Words cannot explain how I am feeling. I am overwhelmed. It is the best Mother's Day present we could have hoped for."

Doerfel said he hoped the British government would change its immigration rules which did not allow family members to care for and look after their vulnerable relatives.

"We are now hoping government has recognised the strength of feeling on this issues and will reverse the change to the Adult Dependent Relative Rule position.

"We shall now be presenting the petition to discuss a change in the law with the government," he said.

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