Myrtle Cothill: 92-year-old widow will no longer be deported to South Africa

After reconsidering the case, the Home Office said Myrtle Cothill 'will be granted leave to remain'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The 92-year-old woman ordered to leave the UK and return to South Africa has been told she can remain in the UK after the Home Office dropped its threat to immediately remove her. 

Myrtle Cothill, a native South African who has heart problems, is losing her eyesight and cannot walk unaided, has been relying on the care of her 66-year-old daughter Mary Wills, who is a British citizen.

The pensioner was booked on to a Virgin flight to Johannesburg two weeks ago, after her application to stay in the UK was rejected by the Home Office.

The Home Office said her application was rejected in December because her "condition was not deemed to be life-threatening" and "suitable medical treatment" was available in her country of origin. 

After more than 150,000 people signed a petition calling for her to stay in the UK, the Home Office reconsidered the case, stating: “Subject to final security checks and enrolment of biometrics, Mrs Cothill will be granted leave to remain without recourse to public funds.”

Her lawyer, Jan Doerful, said this was "just a formality". 

According to The Guardianon hearing the news, Cothill said: “I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and God bless them all. It has made such a tremendous difference to me. It’s too wonderful.”

Ms Cothill's case caused an outcry on social media.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, and many others shared the petition, urging the public to put pressure on the Home Office. 

One woman, Marsha Coupe, even offered to "trade" places with Ms Cothill.