A WOMAN has died five days after immigration officials claimed she was feigning illness to avoid deportation.
Nancy Motsamai from South Africa collapsed while authorities attempted to deport her from the UK on a plane.
The 35-year-old died of a pulmonary embolism less than a week later on March 12.
Fusi Motsamai, 35, the woman’s husband, has strongly criticised the Home Office’s handling of his wife’s case.
Fusi Motsamai, Nancy’s husband said: “We repeatedly asked the Home Office to release Nancy’s passport to allow her body to be transported to her home country for burial but they did not.”
He added: “Nancy said she felt unwell while we were at Eaton House [a Home Office centre in Hounslow where the couple were required to attend regularly].
“We were detained separately, but after we were released Nancy told me that a nurse at the detention centre told her she was too ill to be detained, but the nurse was overruled by a superior and she was held overnight.”
More than two weeks after his wife’s death, a text message was sent to her phone from the Home Office. The contents of the message warned Motsamai of the possible ramifications of failing to attend a meeting at a Home Office reporting centre.
The Home Office said that it had been made aware of Motsamai’s death a week before the message was sent. A spokesman from the Home Office said the text message was sent in error, the result of a failure to update an automated system.
Motsamai and his wife’s immigration difficulties began after they applied for new visas after living and working in the UK for more than 10 years.
A spokesperson from the Home Office said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with Mrs Motsamai’s family at this difficult time. We take our responsibilities towards detainees’ health and welfare seriously. When there are claims that the highest standards have not been met these will be investigated thoroughly.”
Nancy Motsamai’s body was flown back to South Africa last week.