A besotted woman has spent two years’ worth of disability handouts bankrolling her illegal immigrant boyfriend – despite him being DEPORTED.
Crazy-in-love Claire May, who gets £850-a-month in disability handouts, is so desperate to keep her Indian fiance happy she gives him £30-a-week pocket money – even paying him cash while he’s in an immigrant detention facility.
Claire, 34, met Amit Chawla online two years ago, but the 29-year-old was unable to get a job because he was already living here illegally.
Chawla, who lived in England illegally for six years, was kicked out on August 16 after a lengthy spell in a detention facility.
But Claire, from Southampton, Hampshire, has refused to give up on her love and is now splashing taxpayers’ cash to trying to get him back into Britain.
“The benefits I get are mine so it’s nobody else’s business how I spend them.
“We don’t live a flash lifestyle, and he is a hands-on dad and does all the cooking so I don’t mind paying for him to be here.
“He’s not a scrounger – he’s in love with me and a brilliant partner and dad to our child. He deserves to stay in the country and deporting him would be the wrong decision.
“It didn’t bother me he was here illegally – everyone makes mistakes, and I love him.
“I never minded giving Amit money – he never asked me for handouts. It was never about the money for either of us – we love each other and it was about supporting him.”
After his visa expired in 2009, tattooed Chawla spent three years taking cash-in-hand cleaning jobs and kipping on mates’ sofas to remain ‘under the radar’.
And when he met lonely Claire in September 2012 through social networking website ‘Tagged’, the pair struck up a romantic relationship – with Claire dipping into her disability benefits to help Chawla to fund his lifestyle.
The pair fell in love, and the besotted couple say they vowed to do whatever it took to stay together – even if it meant spending government handouts to keep him in the country.
In two years, Claire reckons she’s splashed £3,120 of taxpayers’ money so Chawla could afford to stay in Britain.
Incredibly, Claire – who gave birth to their baby daughter Riya – in February this year – insists Chawla is not ‘scrounging’ off her – and says she has no qualms about spending her disability benefits this way because she’s ‘in love’.
Now he’s been kicked out of the country, Claire has spent another £280 of her benefits on flights to India so she can marry her lover and bring him back – on a spouse and marriage visa.
Claire suffers with Triple X syndrome – a condition which means she was born with an extra chromosome that can cause short-term memory loss, dyslexia and weak muscles.
Her condition has left her unable to work her whole life.
She claims £57.45 disability living allowance, £73.10 employment support allowance and £82.30 attendance allowance every week – totalling £850 a month.
Claire added: “It amazed me Amit had been able to avoid deportation for so long, but I didn’t question it. I didn’t want to worry him.
“I didn’t really understand the procedures involved, so I didn’t think too much about it.
“Besides, I was falling in love with him, so it didn’t matter to me. When Amit told me everything would be alright, I believed him.
“As soon as we got into a relationship we would meet up every week or so at the weekends. I would travel up to see him and would always end up giving him money for the week.
“I would hand him around £30 a week from my disability benefits, so he would be able to afford to buy food and drink and contribute a bit towards bills at his friends’ houses when he stayed with them.
“I didn’t want him to have to work and risk being caught by immigration.”
Claire’s scheme to keep Chawla in the country fell through last September when he was denied a residency visa – because he had been living illegally here for so long.
She said: “We wanted our future together to be free of worry about him being deported. He wanted to get a job and provide for us.
“We were engaged, we had a daughter on the way, and we felt that was enough to prove to immigration that our love was real.”
Last month at his caseworker appointment, Chawla was detained and sent to Portland Immigration Removal Centre in Dorset, and he was eventually flown home on August 16.
Claire said: “I’m still in shock. When I visited Amit for the last time I couldn’t control myself. He deserves to be here with me.
“I didn’t want to let him go, and going home without him was devastating.
“It is so unfair that Amit has been sent thousands of miles away from his family.
“It doesn’t matter whether he was here illegally or not – Britain is his home.
“I will do anything I can and spend whatever money I have to get him back.”