THE family of a Poole 92-year-old threatened with deportation will appeal to Europe if their case is turned down by the Home Office.

On Wednesday last week Myrtle Cothill was told that in six days she would have to board a flight back to South Africa with the threat of being sent to a detention centre hanging over her should she refuse.

However, two days later the Home Office cancelled its removal direction to consider new medical evidence provided by Mrs Cothill’s lawyer.

Her daughter, Mary Wills, says the family will take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if she is denied the right to remain.

“We will fight this all the way,” said Mrs Wills, a retired carer who herself moved to the UK 20 years ago.

“I don’t feel optimistic about it at the moment. This is a very stressful time of us and it is hitting mum badly, leaving her nervous and upset. I don’t think she would have made the flight.

“I don’t know what she would have done at the other end, she has no family there and nowhere to live.

“I hope the Home Office will change their minds.”

Mrs Cothill, a widow born in South Africa when it was under British rule, moved to the UK in 2014 hoping to spend her remaining years with her daughter at her home in Parkstone.

The family hope the medical assessment will convince immigration officials that she is too ill to live alone in South Africa as she has a heart condition, COPD, failing eyesight and hearing and struggles to walk due to bad knees.

Despite her ill health her family say she will not be a burden on British taxpayers as she can afford private healthcare.

A petition calling for Mrs Cothill to be allowed to remain in the UK has now gathered more than 130,000 signatures - rising by some 60,000 in just the past few days.

“The support we have had has been overwhelming and very comforting,” said Mrs Wills.

“It shows that people have good hearts.”

The Home Office has also cancelled its requirement from before Christmas that Mrs Cothill report to a police station once a month.