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Widowed 92-year-old will be deported to South Africa despite huge online petition

A frail 92-year-old widow is to be deported to South Africa despite claims she has no close family in the country.

Widowed Mrs Cothill is being returned to South Africa Credit: ITV News

Myrtle Cothill, who has heart problems, poor eyesight and cannot walk unaided, arrived in Britain on a tourist visa in 2014 so she could be cared for by her daughter.

But mother-of-one Mrs Cothill, whose father fought for Britain in the First World War, had her application to stay in the UK rejected by the Home Office, while two separate tribunals upheld the decision.

Despite a 52,000-strong petition calling for her to be allowed to remain, a seat on a flight to her native South Africa has been booked for Tuesday.

A petition claiming she faces forced removal has reached over 50,000 signatures Credit: Change.org

Since her arrival, Mrs Cothill has lived with her daughter, Mary Wills, and son-in-law David, at their home in Poole, Dorset.

The couple are unable to move to South Africa because they have no right to live there, while Mr Wills also has heart problems.

In a statement on the change.org petition, Mrs Wills 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."

Their barrister Jan Doerfel described the developing situation as "heart-breaking" for mother and daughter.

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."

Last December Mrs Cothill told ITV News Meridian she was praying she could remain in the UK until the "end of her days."

I just hope that they will look with compassion on this old lady and let me stay the rest of my life with my daughter - my only child.

– Myrtle Cothill