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Windrush victim and campaigner Sarah O'Connor dies

FAMILY: Sarah O’Connor with her daughter Stephanie. (Photo credit: The O'Connor family)

SARAH O'CONNOR, one of the most prominent victims and voices of the Windrush scandal, has died aged 57

The Guardian reports O'Connor was found dead at her home on Sunday morning. Sarah O’Connor was found dead at her home on Sunday morning. A postmortem will be held on Friday, but her death has provisionally been attributed to natural causes.

As one of the key voices speaking out against the Windrush scandal, O'Connor spoke in parliament earlier this year to describe the issues she was facing. In March, she told the Guardian she was facing bankruptcy as a result of being labelled as an illegal immigrant - despite moving to the UK 51 years ago.

O'Conner also attended primary and secondary school in London, had a driving licence, voted in general elections, been married for 17 years to a British citizen, and had four children in the UK, all of whom have British passports, according to the Guardian.

As a result of her immigration struggles, O'Connor was unable to take up a new job, was refused unemployment benefits and was left destitute without income.

The final year of her life was sent sharing her story with those who would listen, and trying to repair her life from the immigration claims. She eventually went through a naturalisation ceremony, which, according to her daughter Stephanie O'Connor, annoyed her that it had to be done but understood that it was necessary.

“She was so happy to have finally got somewhere; we’d been banging our heads against the wall for so long. But she had mixed emotions about it – she felt she should always have had it,” Stephanie said said.

According to the Guardian, Stephanie said the immigration problems, which emerged a year ago, had badly affected her mother, and that O’Connor had previously been “very bubbly, always laughing, someone who saw the positive”.

“It made her very unhappy. I saw a complete change in her,” her daughter said. “She wasn’t the same mum any more. She felt like she wasn’t getting anywhere, and she was deflated. I was trying to keep her upbeat; she said she just wanted to give up.”

Since the news of her death, politicians have shared their condolences. Diane Abbott took to Twitter, and said: "This is tragic. Rest in peace."

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking and Dagenham tweeted: "So sad to hear that my constituent, Sarah O’Connor has died. Sarah was a remarkable person who I had the privilege of meeting. She suffered greatly at the hands of the Home Office and went on to campaign for all #Windrush victims. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

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