Woman found dead beside malnourished baby son after claiming asylum in Britain

A woman who had claimed asylum in Britain has been found dead beside her malnourished son in a Glasgow flat, a charity has said.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 12:17 pm
The body of Mercy Baguma, 34, from Uganda, was discovered by police at her flat in Glasgow on August 22, next to her malnourished baby son. Pic: PA

Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) said Mercy Baguma, from Uganda, was discovered by police at her flat in Glasgow on August 22.

The charity said her infant son was found "crying beside his mother’s body, weakened from starvation", before he was taken to hospital.

The cause of the 34-year-old's death is not yet known, but an official investigation is now under way.

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The cause of the 34-year-old's death is not yet known, but an official investigation is now under way. Pic: PA

PAIH said it understands that Ms Baguma lost her job after her limited leave to remain in the UK expired and she was no longer allowed to legally work.

It said that, after living in “extreme poverty”, she claimed asylum and was relying on food from friends and charitable organisations.

The human rights charity said it is the “third tragedy to affect the city’s refugee population in as many months” after a Syrian refugee was found dead in his room at a guest house in May.

In June, asylum seeker Badreddin Abadlla Adam was shot dead by police after six people were injured in a knife attack at the Park Inn Hotel.

Positive Action in Housing director Robina Qureshi said: "Mercy contacted our charity on August 11 and said she was not getting any financial support, yet had made an application to MigrantHelp.

"Had she lived, she would have been a high priority for a crisis payment from our Emergency Relief Fund like hundreds of others left functionally destitute by the asylum system.

"The question remains: why are mothers and babies being left to go hungry in this city? Why is it being left to charities and volunteers to pick up the pieces?”

She added: "Would this mother be alive if she was not forced out of her job by this cruel system that stops you from working and paying your way because a piece of paper says your leave to remain has expired?

"I’m sure Mercy’s son will want to ask this and other questions once he is old enough."

It said her son was released from hospital on Monday and is being cared for by his father, who lives elsewhere in Glasgow.

The charity is calling for a public inquiry into the deaths and into asylum seeker accommodation in the city.

A Home Office spokesman said: "This is a tragic situation and our condolences go to Ms Baguma’s family.

"The Home Office takes the wellbeing of all those in the asylum system extremely seriously, and we will be conducting a full investigation into Ms Baguma’s case."