Couple torn apart by bungling border police who say they “aren’t in a genuine relationship” – despite being married for 45 years

Bungling border officials have banned a Canadian woman from the UK, saying she does not have a “genuine” relationship with her husband – despite them being married for 45 YEARS.

DAVID AND MARIA WITH THE REFUSAL LETTER

David and Maria with their refusal letter

Maria Summers, 67, has been torn apart from besotted hubby and best friend David, 70, and shipped back to Canada – following a five month struggle with inept immigration officials.

Border officials refuse to accept Maria and David’s relationship – even though they have been together nearly 50 years and have a son together.

The ludicrous decision comes as David is recovery from surgery in hospital after battling bladder cancer – and devoted Maria has been left devastated as she claims immigration officials said they failed to prove their love and lacked finances.

Maria and David at their wedding (L) and now, still going strong (R)

Maria and David at their wedding (L) and now, still going strong (R)

Maria, who moved from Canada to Hereford with David in 2013 to care for his sick mother, said: “It’s terrible that I can’t be here for him.

“To say our marriage isn’t genuine after 50 years and a son together is ridiculous.

“First they said we could not prove we had an affectionate relationship, then they said we don’t feel you have the money to support yourselves.

“But we both receive pensions from Canada, David has a salary as a councillor and I do optical consultant work.”

Some old family snaps

Some old family snaps

Maria said she is “treated like a criminal” every time she enters the country.

“They take my fingerprints, they take my mugshot. It’s extremely frustrating and humiliating.”

Dutch-born Maria said the couple are “self-sufficient” with pensions and a mortgage-free house in Holme Lacy, Hereford.

The couple also have a 42-year-old son, Derick, who holds a British passport, and a grand-daughter.

She said the Border Agency asked for documents to prove David’s ill health, but Maria did not hear back before her time was up and she flew back to Canada on Sunday.

David and Maria

David and Maria

She said: “It’s ridiculous, we are quite willing to give the border people what they want but they are adamant. I don’t know what they want us to prove.

“Anyone who has ever spoken to us can clearly see that we are best friends and have been since the day we met.

“We’ve got almost half a century’s worth of birthday cards, 45 years of holiday snaps from all over the world.

“We’ve got pictures of us with our son just after he was born, growing up, right up to his wedding day. If they’d asked us to send us all of those photos, we could have done.”

Old pictures of the couple, showing that they have been together for a long time

Old pictures of the couple, showing that they have been together for a long time

David, a retired retailer and published author and a Herefordshire councillor for Dinedor Hill, said when Maria’s initial application was rejected in March: “Why pick on us? We’ve been married for 45 years and we are completely devoted to one another, what do they want us to do?

“We could show them pictures, e-mails, texts, everything from our marriage, but they have not asked us for anything. They are doing this based on no evidence at all.

“They haven’t even given us a chance to prove that our marriage is real. We’ve got a marriage certificate and a son, what more do they want?

“We love each other very much, it’s really hurtful for them to suggest that our marriage is not real.”

David and Maria in Canada in 1978

David and Maria in Canada in 1978

Maria’s application for a permanent UK visa was rejected by British authorities, with the reason for rejection reading: “You state that you have been married to your sponsor since 7/12/1970.

“However you have not provided any evidence that your relationship is still subsisting.

“It is reasonable to expect that in a genuine subsisting, supportive and affectionate relationship, there would be evidence of regular contact, signs of companionship, emotional support, affection, and abiding interest in each other’s welfare and well-being throughout the entire duration of your relationship….I am therefore not satisfied that your relationship is not genuine.”

The couple appealed the decision, but now have been dealt a devastating blow as retired optician Maria was banned from Britain and shipped back to Canada.

David and Maria are still smiling despite everything

David and Maria are still smiling despite everything

The pair met at a dance in Kingston, Ontario, in 1966 when 18-year-old David was in Canada working in retail – and they have been besotted ever since.

They devoted couple married in 1970 and lived in Kingston until 1981, when they moved to Ottawa.

The couple made frequent visits back to the UK and bought their house in Hereford in 1995 for David’s elderly mother Doris Murray to live in.

They made the trip back in September 2013 and intended to retire here and care for 95-year-old Doris, who had fallen ill, with David saying paperwork completed in the 1970s allowing them to frequently visit led them to believe they didn’t need a permanent UK visa for Maria.

The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.