A SCOTTISH grandmother at the centre of a deportation row is now too ill to return to Australia.
Christine Grant, 96, who has dementia and is partially blind, was forced to return to Scotland after a mix-up with her visa.
Her daughter-in-law has said she is too ill to make a return journey and that she wouldn’t “put her through that torture again”.
Mrs Grant’s son Allan and his wife Diane were forced to bring the vulnerable pensioner on a long haul flight home after Australian immigration officials gave them an ultimatum to leave the country by July 26.
Her forced departure unleashed fury on social media as many called the Australian Government “heartless” and “immoral”.
To make matters worse, their flight was delayed by five hours in Dubai and Mrs Grant had to sleep on an airport couch.
The situation is made even more difficult with Christina’s dementia, as sometimes she is unaware of what is happening.
Mrs Grant then also fell ill several times on what ended up becoming a six hour car journey from Glasgow Airport to Strathspey.
Her son and daughter-in-law will be staying with her in her house in the village of Dulnain Bridge until November, while they try to find a suitable nursing home.
Diane Grant, 67, said: “She won’t be going back to Australia. Her dementia has got a lot worse in the last six months. I would not put her through that torture again.
“When we took her over there [two years ago], we stopped in Dubai and went to a resort, but there’s no way we can even think about a stopover.
“We have to keep her going because she cannot be in unfamiliar places due to her eyesight.”
The pensioner moved over 10,000 miles (16,000 km) from Dulnain Bridge in the Highlands to New South Wales in Australia to be near family after her son Robert, who looked after her, died in 2015.
Mrs Grant’s visitor visa required that she leave the country once a year, but this expired and authorities decided that a South Pacific Cruise booked by her family did not qualify as the basis for a visa renewal.
Her family claim that they have heard nothing from Australian officials since, and that a new visa application would be rejected on health grounds.
Australian Government officials maintain that she should apply, and that they had been willing to resolve the situation.
However, Diane Grant denied these claims as she heard nothing from them in the five weeks leading up to their departure.
She added: “We are still absolutely disgusted with the Australian Government that they would put an individual through this at 96 years old. I would like to see any politician and bureaucrat do that with a member of their family.”
Her mother-in-law has been resting since she arrived home from the exhausting journey on Friday.
Diane said: “We are staying in her house at Dulnain Bridge until November and hoping we can get her into a home before we leave. Of course, we will have to return regularly for extended trips.
“She is very confused about everything right now.”
Social media users lashed out at the Australian Government after pictures of the frail OAP sleeping on an airport couch emerged.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, was the focus for most of the fury as he was branded “heartless”.
He has been under fire recently for allegedly endorsing the relocation of all refugees on Papua New Guinea and Nauru to the United States — even those with close family members in Australia.
Rob Leong wrote: “Immoral, evil, heartless, black-hearted…not a modicum of compassion. Another Dutton example of how the coalition treats our most vulnerable.”
Annanshi Jayde added: “Welcome to Dutton’s Australia. Where humanity has disappeared. What is it with these people?”
While Colleen M simply said: “Utterly disgraceful! Dutton is a heartless savage!”
Margie C added: “Terror comes in many forms. For many this government is their greatest threat.”
Many social media users were saddened by the treatment Mrs Grant received from Australian officials.
Trevor Riches wrote: “Our British cousins may well be scratching their heads and wondering what Australia has become. So ashamed at this mistreatment of a 96-year-old.”
Bitsandbobs8 added: “This is not an Australia that I’m proud of.”
Catia Malaquias commented: “How on earth could anyone try to justify treating a vulnerable person in this way? It’s appalling”