Desperate dad faces struggle to be reunited with children from South Africa

Justin Tupp who is trying to get his two children back from South Africa following the suicide of his ex-wife.
Justin Tupp who is trying to get his two children back from South Africa following the suicide of his ex-wife.

A HEARTBROKEN dad who cannot bring his young children to Burnley following their mother’s suicide has spoken of his “appalling torment”.

Mr Justin Tutt (29) has lived in Burnley for the past five years after he separated from his wife Deirdre in South Africa and moved to this country, but six months ago she committed suicide leaving their two children Seth (8) and Leigh (5).

The children are now living with their maternal grandparents in Kimberley but Mr Tutt has so far been frustrated in his efforts to bring them to England.

“I am in torment because my children need me but I cannot get a visa for them to come and live in England. It is absolutely appalling and desperately upsetting.”

Mr Tutt now lives in Briercliffe Road with partner Clare Miles, her daughter Kaitlyn (7) and their seven-month-old son Jake.

New rules introduced by the Government in July states that people living in this country must be earning £22,400 plus £2,400 for each additional child before dependants can enter the country.

Mr Tutt, who works in Burnley’s Walkabout bar, said his earnings rule him out. He added: “My children need me. They have seen their mother kill herself and are now living with her elderly parents.

“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 do not know what else I can do.”

Mr Tutt says he has contacted the office of Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle for help but is still no nearer to being reunited with his children.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I sympathise with Mr Tutt’s situation, it is very unusual. The fact is that the Government has clamped down on immigration, which has obviously made it difficult for him.

“There have been new rules introduced regarding dependants too. The changes mean that people now have to have a certain earning level because the Government do not want people taking benefits from this country without having contributed.

“Obviously Mr Tutt’s children haven’t had that opportunity. I will speak to the Border Agency and I know they can be flexible in certain cases.”

A spokesman for the Border Agency said that it does not comment on individual cases.