British woman’s husband detained in room with ‘blood and faeces’ in visa row

An American man says he was treated "worse than a criminal" after being detained in a room with blood and faeces over a visa row.

Joseph Connelly, who lives with his Scottish wife Amanda in Faifley, near Clydebank, was told he would be deported just days after their third wedding anniversary.

Originally from Florida, he was taken to Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre after attending a routine appointment with the Home Office in Glasgow.

He was later taken to a different detention centre near London, and although lawyers have now managed to get him an 11th hour reprieve, he faces an uphill legal battle to remain in the UK.

"I have never experienced anything like it. I've never broken the law, been arrested or done anything wrong in this country or in the US yet I was treated worse than a criminal," he said.

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"I was taken away on the Thursday and was eventually released on the Tuesday.

"When I got to a place near London, I was put in what can only be described as a cell. I was locked in at 8.30pm and couldn't go anywhere or leave the room at all.

"There was blood on the duvet and the bedding had faeces on it."

Joseph, who has been married to Amanda since February 2017, says the prospect of being forced to leave the country made him feel "trapped" and "lost".

"I felt trapped. I met Amanda when she was on holiday in Florida. I gave up my life to be with her because I love her," he continued.

"I thought it would be straightforward to come and live with her in Scotland. When the officials told me I was booked on a flight to the US, I felt lost."

His wife, who has already appealed to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for help, says the battle has left her world "ripped apart".

Mum-of-one Amanda, 47, said: "This is a nightmare. We have been treated terribly from start to finish.

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"We went to the Home Office site in Glasgow for a routine appointment and I waited in a cafe for Joe.

"After about 15 minutes, two people appeared from the Home Office and asked if I was his wife and told me there had been a wee mix-up. They then said they were detaining him and he was going to Dungavel detention centre before they deported him.

"I couldn’t believe it, my world was being ripped apart. He has been here almost two years and was in the process of getting a spouse visa but we kept getting mixed messages about what was happening.

"We have been together since 2011 and we got married in February 2017. We are just a normal married couple and we want to get on with our lives but then this happens.

“"I was at a loss about what to do. I have even written to Nicola Sturgeon. What did we do to deserve this?"

The pair are now locked in limbo, as Amanda was previously forced to leave America for a visa violation.

Their lawyer, John Flanagan, said Joseph’s removal from the country "will break up his family and is a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights".

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are unable to comment on this case due to ongoing legal proceedings.

"The dignity and welfare of all those in our care is of the utmost importance. We will accept nothing but the highest standards from companies employed to manage the detention estate."

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