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Tragic mother ‘facing death’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 December 2010

Cynthia Owie lays flowers at the shrine for her daughter

Cynthia Owie lays flowers at the shrine for her daughter

Archant

A WOMAN fears certain death if she is deported to Nigeria after her one-year-old daughter tragically passed away.

Chris Hanson & Cynthia Owie

Cynthia Owie came to England on Boxing Day December 2008 with her baby daughter, Daniella, for a holiday.

When Daniella fell seriously ill Cynthia was given leave to remain while she was treated.

Now she has been fighting deportation since her daughter died after suffering meningitis last year. She fears being deported to Nigeria as she has been threatened with death for “engineering their daughter’s death through witchcraft”.

Cynthia said: “I have been threatened that I will be killed if I go back. I have been told I am a witch and murdered our daughter. It is simply awful.” Since the death of Daniella, Cynthia, 33, has been incarcerated a number of times at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedford where she said she had been treated “like an animal”.

Her cause has been taken up by West Ham MP Lyn Brown as well as the members of the Ascension Parish Church in Custom House, which has been providing Cynthia with accommodation and support over the past two years.

The Rev Chris Hanson, the vicar of the church, said that Cynthia had become an indispensable member of the congregation by helping out with seamstress work and offering her support to young mothers and the elderly.

The Reverend added that he would oppose exhuming her daughter’s body where it lies at City of London Cemetery “at every turn” as it could not be done without desecrating the graves of other children.

Rev Hanson took Cynthia’s case to the Home Office last week and said the church community was praying that she would be allowed to stay.

“Cynthia’s case is one in a thousand,” he said. “She has gone about trying to stay in this country in a God honouring way. “I am hopeful that the Home Office will understand her exceptional circumstances.”

She fears that she will be tracked down and killed.

The Rev Hanson told the Recorder: “When the baby was discovered as being very ill, she was accused of witchcraft. People out in Nigeria believe she brought on this illness and we believe if she is returned to Nigeria she would be killed.”

He also fears that Cynthia may become depressed if she is sent back as she has not had the chance to grieve for the loss of her daughter. She would, effectively, be losing her a second time if she has to leave her grave behind, said the Reverend.

Lyn Brown told the Recorder: “I had a very positive meeting with the Minister (Damian Green). He accepted that the circumstances were unique and I am hopeful he will be compassionate”.

Cynthia was originally given limited leave on remain on compassionate grounds. She faced deportation once that expired but the Home Office has given her more time outside the rules.

The Home Office does not discuss individual cases.


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