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Burnley dad's battle to prevent his children being deported
A DAD is fighting to stop his children from being deported from Burnley to South Africa.
Justin Tutt, 29, fears his children Seth, eight, and Leigh, five, could be ‘raped or killed’ if they are sent back to their native country where they will be put into care.
They are living with him in Briercliffe Road but only have five weeks before their holiday visa runs out.
He brought them over from Kimberley where they were living with their grandparents in a residential home after their mother Deirdre committed suicide last May.
But they now face going into care as staying at their grandparent's home was only a short-term measure.
Mr Tutt has spent seven months trying to find a way for his children to live with him as he has been told that they would not be granted a visa.
New rules introduced by the Government in July state that people living in this country must be earning £22,400 plus £2,400 for each additional child before dependants can enter the country.
In desperation Mr Tutt, who lives in Briercliffe Road with his partner Clare Miles, 29, her daughter Kaitlyn, seven, and their eight-month-old son Jake, flew out to South Africa to bring them over on a three-month holiday visa.
He said: “I have tried every way possible to get the children visas to live in England but there seems to be no way round it. I was born in South Africa but my mother is English. I do not earn a lot of money but I am settled in England and I want my children here. I have tried to do everything by the book but did not know what else I could do.
“It is ridiculous that I just want to have my children here safe with me and yet i’m being told that they aren’t allowed to and that they will be put into care. All my family live in England, I have no one there and no life there. All I want to do is keep my family here safe and together.
“I was told by a social worker in South Africa that if they get put into care they could be raped or killed because one in five white children in care are. No parent in their right mind would let their children be taken away and placed in danger.
“I have had no other option but to bring them here to England, and I will not be letting them return to South Africa.”
The children are due to fly back on March 21 but Mr Tutt says that he will do everything in his power to keep the children with him.
Mr Tutt, who works in Burnley’s Walkabout bar and has lived in Burnley for five years, said he had called the UK Border Agency more than 95 times in just a month in the hope of getting help and spoken to 25 lawyers who have all be unable to offer him any way around the situation.
He has approached Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle for help and has even written to the Prime Minister.
The children have been enrolled at St Mary’s RC School, Burnley, and they are happy and settled since their move, he said.
He added: ”I haven’t told the children that they could face being sent back to South Africa.
"They have had enough to contend with in the past year. I think it would be ten times harder for them to be moved back now they have started school and are settled here, it would be heart breaking for us all.“ Mr Tutt says that he has not only faced an enormous struggle trying to get his children back from South Africa, having spent more than £5,000 and is now heavily in debt because of the cost of legal fees and flights.
Mr Birtwistle said: “I have had a number of meetings with him about the visas. It seems ridiculous that these little children can’t just live with their father in the UK who will care for them. We will be working hard to do everything in our power to stop these two young children being forced to go back to a country where they could face rape and child abuse."
MEP Sajjad Karim’s office have also contacted Mr Tutt to offer him advice about proceeding with attempts to get visas for the children.