A 67-YEAR-OLD Catford woman has been denied leave to remain in the country, kicked out of her Catford home and ended up on the streets - all within the space of a few months.
Beatrice Denedo now faces Christmas in a Deptford hostel for homeless people after her private landlord booted her out of a one-bedroom Rushey Green flat while she lay in hospital.
Mrs Denedo came to the UK from Nigeria in the 1950s on a spouse visa with her husband but the couple, who have a grown up son living in Lee, eventually divorced.
She returned to her home country before coming back to the UK 10 years ago, but problems sorting out a visa meant she overstayed.
Earlier this year, her application for leave to remain in the country failed, her housing benefits were stopped in September and the landlord of a flat where she lived for two years issued a 30-day eviction notice.
Mrs Denedo says she was in Lewisham Hospital at the time, being treated for scabies from being bitten by a spider in her dirty flat, so when she was discharged from hospital, she was essentially on the streets.
She said: "I was too scared to complain about the dirty flat because I thought they would kick me out of it. I was so scared.
"My immigration lawyers said they could not continue with my case because the legal aid had run out.
"They changed the locks while I was in hospital and said they were going to destroy my possessions."
In the end, a former neighbour helped her move some of her belongings from the old flat, but she was still left with nowhere to stay and ended up sleeping rough.
She said: "I’ve no money and nowhere else to go.
"I had a few years in the flat and I was happy.
"They told me, no matter what, I’m not going back to that house."
Now Mrs Denedo is staying at the Reach hostel in Deptford, though the place is unable to look after her during the daytime, which means she has to look for places to keep warm during daylight hours.
Concerned friends have contacted Lewisham Deptford MP Joan Ruddock about the situation but Mrs Denedo, who suffers from breathing problems and other ailments, does not know what the future holds and is concerned about returning to Nigeria while her family remain here.
She said: "I would suffer and die if I went back to Nigeria.
"I could not afford the treatment."
A Home Office spokesman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules.
“The onus is on the individual to provide the necessary evidence to support their application.”