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Jamaican lesbian wins right to stay in the UK

ORDEAL: Coletane Lopez spent time at Yarls Wood detention centre

A GAY woman who was due to be deported to Jamaica has won her fight to remain in the UK.

Coletane Lopez, 22, who lives in Leeds, was taken to Yarls Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire in March and put on a fast track programme that could have seen her deported within days.

Lopez said she feared that she could be killed if sent back to the Caribbean island, known for widespread homophobia.

Following a Voice story and two petitions signed by hundreds of people, she was given a reprieve.

She was released from Yarls Wood and told to reapply to stay in the country. The new application was approved.

Her brother, Nestfield Lopez, said she has been granted the right to remain by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

He said: “She got a letter the other day through the post. They gave her asylum leave to remain for five years. It’s fantastic news.

They sent her a national insurance number, identification (papers), and she’s free to do whatever she wants – get a job, to travel. She’s just free now.

“She really deserves it. She’s been here since she was 11. She’s never hurt a soul, she’s helped the homeless, she’s helped rape victims. It’s a really good thing. The whole family, me and my sister want to say a big thank you to The Voice and even all the Jamaican people that supported me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

“We made a very successful campaign. Everybody that got involved... If it wasn’t for you guys, I don’t think without the media getting involved, we would have got this.”

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