Couple’s despair in fight against deportation threat

Steven Cooke and his partner Molly Jamare
Steven Cooke and his partner Molly Jamare

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MOLLY Jamare fled beatings and rape to make a better life for herself in the UK.

She is unable to work legally so volunteers at a Red Cross drop-in centre in Portsmouth and also looks after her partner Steven Cooke, who has terminal prostate cancer.

But Ms Jamare and Mr Cooke face a desperate legal appeal to give her the right to stay as the Home Office has ruled she should return to Zimbabwe.

And Mr Cooke, 54, has been told that despite his condition he has to move to Zimbabwe if he wants to continue the relationship.

He moved from London to Portsmouth, after he met Ms Jamare, 44, in 2011, when she was given asylum rights to live in the UK. The pair live together in Perkins House, Beck Street, Portsea.

Ms Jamare, who fled Zimbabwe 14 years ago, said: ‘I suffered a lot of violence in my country, so I left.

‘In my interview to the Home Office, I told them I was beaten and raped but they do not believe my story.’

In October 2011, the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber court for the Ministry of Justice gave Ms Jamare rights to remain in the UK.

But in November 2011, the Home Office appealed against the court’s decision successfully.

Mr Cooke, a former car salesman, said: ‘We went back to court in April 2012 to try and get that appeal overturned.

‘The judge said we wouldn’t win on article four of the Immigration and Asylum Act, but instructed us to make an appeal under Article Eight of the Human Rights Act. Under this, we resubmitted our case, and that was presented in September 2012.

In January 2013, Mr Cooke was given the devastating news that he had advanced prostate cancer, which was terminal and he would need palliative care.

This information was submitted to the Home Office but in October last year, the Home Office still refused.

‘We thought it would be successful,’ added Mr Cooke. ‘But the refusal was on the grounds they deemed I was fit enough with advanced cancer to be able to follow Molly back to Zimbabwe and set up a life there – that I should be able to get a job to pay for my treatment.’

Mr Cooke is in cycle six of 10 for chemotherapy at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

He said: ‘I have worked all my life, but can’t now because of my diagnosis.

‘I have paid my taxes and can’t believe I’ve been told to go over to Zimbabwe.’

The couple have appealed against this decision and a hearing is due on August 29. The pair said they want to be together and get married.

Mr Cooke added: ‘I have an undetermined lifespan. I would love to see Molly stable and looked after.

‘She is a beautiful person – there is not a bad bone in her body.

‘Despite all this, she’s still there for everybody, she tirelessly does her volunteer work at Red Cross and she has been my heart and soul and I would have given up a long time ago without Molly.

‘I would give up if we are separated.

‘We would like to get married.’

The Home Office said that it was looking into the case.

A spokesman said: ‘All applications for asylum are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. This individual has submitted a fresh appeal which is under consideration. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’

Molly praised for her hard work and dedication to volunteering by Red Cross

AS MOLLY Jamare has been unable to work, she is instead volunteering for the British Red Cross.

She has been a service support volunteer at the asylum drop-in centre at All Saints Church, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, which is held on Mondays and Thursdays.

And her hard work was recognised when she was given a certificate of commendation last year.

Her certificate said: ‘Molly has an exceptional ability to support and empathise with those in crisis.

‘She is always there to provide a supportive ear for beneficiaries in crisis, while fulfilling her role and supporting partnership development.’

It goes on to say: ‘Molly is enthusiastic and dedicated in her role and can always be relied upon to provide extra support to the service where needed, in particular by managing the kitchen when we are short of team members.

‘She has a natural aptitude for motivating and assisting others, readily supporting new volunteers and adapting her role to ensure needs of beneficiaries are met.’

It ends with: ‘Molly is an exceptional kind and trusted member of the team.’

And Sara Cotton, project co-ordinator of the drop-in service, has also praised Ms Jamare’s work.

She said: ‘Molly’s partner Steve has been poorly, and Molly has coped admirably, however we recognise this has been a difficult time for them.

‘Molly is an asset to the volunteer team.’