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Grandmother Mary Ellis begged on TV to stay in Australia… but the government isn’t buying her story – now she has one last chance to avoid being sent back to Britain in handcuffs


A grandmother who has lived in Australia for 40 years but is facing deportation back to Britain is launching a last-ditch bid to stay Down Under.

Mary Philomena Ellis, 74, also risks penalties of up to ten years in prison after a bombshell MailOnline investigation poked holes in her story.

Ms Ellis went on television and begged the Department of Home Affairs to let her stay in Australia after she was threatened with deportation following claims she had misrepresented her continuous residence in the country since arriving from Britain.

She said Home Affairs’ claims that she left Australia three times under an alias between 1983 and 1986 were untrue, as were allegations her late husband Martin Ellis was really a man named Trevor Warren. 

According to her own account, Ms Ellis first arrived in Australia in December 1981 in the wake of a marriage breakdown, and began a relationship with Martin Ellis. 

Ms Ellis said she was ‘terrified’ of going back to Britain as she ‘didn’t know a soul’ there, declaring ‘I’m an Aussie’. 

She said she had paid taxes in Australia, and held a Medicare card, pension card and an Australian driver’s licence.

Daily Mail Australia understands there are no ‘compassionate grounds’ on which the Immigration Minister could intervene in Mary’s bid to attain an ‘absorbed person’ visa.

However, under the Migration Act, the minister could decide to intervene in Mary’s case if he thinks ‘it is in the public interest’.

Ms Ellis or her migration agent Stan Shneider could request in writing for the minister to intervene, and Mr Shneider has now said he would do so.

In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said: ‘Non-citizens… who do not have the right to remain in Australia are expected to depart.’ 

Mary Ellis will make an appeal to the minister after bombshell evidence which means she would not be entitled to ‘absorbed citizenship’ because she re-entered Australia after 1984

Mary Ellis will make an appeal to the minister after bombshell evidence which means she would not be entitled to ‘absorbed citizenship’ because she re-entered Australia after 1984

Mary was born in England and has 10 siblings still living in the UK, but she wants to stay in Australia and says she is an Aussie after 40 years living and working here

Mary was born in England and has 10 siblings still living in the UK, but she wants to stay in Australia and says she is an Aussie after 40 years living and working here

It comes after MailOnline used genealogical research to track down Mary’s ten siblings who live in the UK, and her estranged daughter Angela who effectively torpedoed Mary’s claims, saying her mum had flown to the UK in 1986 to sell her house in Croydon, Surrey.

The bombshell evidence means Mary would not be entitled to ‘absorbed citizenship’ because she re-entered Australia after 1984.

The crucial qualification for absorbed citizenship is that Ms Ellis would only be eligible if she was in Australia from April 2, 1984, and had not left the country since. 

Ms Ellis  shared ‘proof’ she had been working in Australia between 1983 and 1986 and denied all Angela’s assertions, including that she hadd ever lived in Croydon, or owned a sweet shop with Trevor Warren at Catford in London.

She said she had never heard of Catford, known anyone called Trevor Warren, and  when presented with the idea that she was Facebook friends with many of her 10 siblings, said they didn’t live in Britain ‘but in other countries around the world’.

‘It’s all rubbish, ‘ Ms Ellis told Daily Mail Australia, and called back to say, ‘I don’t remember anything from before I came to Australia’.

Mary's estranged daughter Angela Potter (above) said her mother last visited the UK in 1986 and she and partner Trevor Warren had run a sweet shop in Catford - but Mary doesn't agree

Mary’s estranged daughter Angela Potter (above) said her mother last visited the UK in 1986 and she and partner Trevor Warren had run a sweet shop in Catford – but Mary doesn’t agree

Mary had been married to UK soldier Sean McHugo, but the marriage failed and Mr McHugo (above, marrying his second wife June in 1988) has since died

Mary had been married to UK soldier Sean McHugo, but the marriage failed and Mr McHugo (above, marrying his second wife June in 1988) has since died

The Australian Federal Police told Daily Mail Australia it did not comment on individual cases but had ‘a range of charges for persons who allegedly attempted to use wrong or misleading details to enter or leave Australia’. 

Penalties can include prison sentences of between 12 months and 10 years.

According to MailOnline’s research, Mary Philomena Walker was born in in Croydon,  in 1949, the eldest of 11 siblings.

Mary (above) in the Aussie sunshine loves the lifestyle here and sys it is her home

She will now have to appeal to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles (above) to intervene in her case

Mary (left) in the Aussie sunshine loves the lifestyle here and says it is her home, but will now have to appeal to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles (right) to intervene in her case

She was only 19 when she married soldier Sean McHugo in Lambeth, south London in 1968, and the following year their daughter Angela was born in the same area.

It is believed that Angela’s brother David McHugo was born in 1971, though no record of his birth could be found in England and Wales.

Ms Ellis claims the marriage broke down and she began a relationship with Martin Ellis – a name which the Australian government now say was actually an alias. 

His real name was Trevor Warren, which her daughter, now Angela Potter, appeared to confirm, saying under that name he and her mother ran a sweet shop in Catford.

Mary is friends on Facebook with her brother, Roman Catholic Deacon Mike Walker, 67, from Caversham, Reading.

Angela Potter said she hadn't seen her 74-year-old mother since 1986, when Mary came home to sell her house and then make the final move back to Australia to live

Angela Potter said she hadn’t seen her 74-year-old mother since 1986, when Mary came home to sell her house and then make the final move back to Australia to live

Mary's children came to Australia to live but returned to the UK, daughter Angela remaining there

Angela Potter came out to Australia to live with her mother, but as a teen 'absolutely hated it'

Angela Potter (right) came out to Australia with brother David to live with their mother, but as a teen ‘absolutely hated it’ and returned to England to live until this day 

Recalling the circumstances in which her mother left the UK with her two children and partner Trevor Warren who later changed his name to Martin Ellis, Angela said: ‘I haven’t seen my mum since I was 17. 

‘She and Trevor, her partner at the time, had always wanted to go to Australia. Trevor had at least one sister living there, perhaps two.

‘Mum and Trevor went over to Australia first as a test-run. Then we all went out as a family.

‘But my brother and I hated it out there. Absolutely hated it. I was only there for about eight months.

‘I was about 15 years old at the time and I came home to the UK and lived with an aunt. My brother came back and joined the British Army.

‘The first I knew of the fact she may be being kicked out of Australia was when my brother – who now lives in Australia despite hating it first time – sent me a Whatsapp with a link to the story.

‘We haven’t spoken but my brother keeps in touch still.’

Mary is a popular figure in her community due to the time she spends volunteering and raising money for The Salvation Army, as well as having worked in home care

Mary is a popular figure in her community due to the time she spends volunteering and raising money for The Salvation Army, as well as having worked in home care

Stan Shneider represented Mary pro bono (above, the two of them) and intends to apply in writing to the minister to have him intervene in her case

Stan Shneider represented Mary pro bono (above, the two of them) and intends to apply in writing to the minister to have him intervene in her case

Requests to Federal Immigration Minister Andrew Giles asking he exercise his powers to intervene in Mary Ellis’s case must address specific grounds for doing so and state why it would be in the public interest.

Ms Ellis’ case is the latest controversy for the department, after it was caught unprepared by a High Court decision to release more than 140 asylum seekers – many of whom had been jailed for murder or child sex offences – wearing satellite tracking anklets into the community. 

Under the Migration Act, the minister can exercise discretionary powers to vary processes on character grounds.

Mary is a popular figure in her community due to the time she spends volunteering and raising money for The Salvation Army – a charity that supports the needy.

She has worked with Aboriginal people in home care and takes a deep interest in Australian politics, culture and current affairs.

‘This is my home; I want an Australian passport. Even then I wouldn’t go back and visit the UK, I love it here,’ she said.

‘I’m a good person, I’ve paid my taxes. I believe the minister is a good person but… yes, I am anxious.’



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