An asylum seeker who is married to a British man is fighting for her life in hospital after an overdose just days before she was due to be sent back to Nigeria.
May Brown, a 19-year-old college student, fled to Britain from her home country three years ago after witnessing her father’s murder and being subjected to sexual abuse. She settled in Weymouth, Dorset, where she met her husband, Michael Brown, 12 months ago and the couple married last December.
Mrs Brown, who was a games maker at last summer’s Olympics and has two university offers to study law, applied to stay in the UK but despite her marriage her application was rejected. Border officials say her marriage to Michael (left) is a ‘sham’. Mr Brown, 34, said UK Border Agency officials believe their marriage to be a ‘sham’ with no ’emotional attachment’.
His wife was told she would be flown back to Nigeria tomorrow. She was so distressed at the prospect of returning to her home country she took an overdose of medication. Her mother-in-law, Helen-Claire Brown, found her collapsed on the bathroom floor on Monday morning with a note to her husband saying she ‘couldn’t live without him’.
The teenager was rushed to the Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester where she remains in a coma in intensive care.
‘I am deeply sorry that I had to go this way, without even saying goodbye. The UK immigration has finally driven me insane. They’ve pushed me too far this time and I can’t take the pain any more. I don’t want a life or a future you won’t be part of. I love you so much, more than life itself and can’t endure the agony of not being with you. Please forgive me for ending it this way. It’s better to die with my dignity than be subjected to torture and undignified death back in Nigeria.’
Before she took the overdose, May had said she feared her abusers would kill her if she returned to the African country because she witnessed her father’s death. She said:
‘If they send me back to Nigeria they are signing my death warrant, they will cut my life short because I will be killed. I have found peace with Michael, he gave me a reason to live. I have got a family here and we don’t claim any benefits. Michael works and I am studying to become a barrister, we have not harmed anybody.‘
Mr Brown, a former soldier who now works for a removals company, insisted the couple’s marriage was genuine and slammed the UK Border Agency for its treatment of his wife. He said:
‘May is the most beautiful, kindest, loving person I have ever met. I can’t live with myself if anything happens to her. She is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with and you can’t pretend something like that. All we want is a life together. But I’m so angry that is being taken away from us.’
Mother-in-law Helen-Claire, 59, added:
‘May is a part of our family and the way the immigration service has treated her is so, so wrong and heartless. She came here on a student visa and has applied for asylum because she fears for her life if she goes back. What kind of world do we live in when a 19-year-old girl who has been through so much already feels she has no other choice but to kill herself?’
Miss Brown is studying public affairs at Weymouth College and hopes to go to university and become a barrister. A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We cannot comment in detail on this case while legal proceedings are on-going. ‘In cases where people are found to have no right to remain in the UK they should leave voluntarily or face removal.’