A WOMAN who created a false identity for herself and her three children in order to stay in the UK illegally for more than a decade has been jailed.
Kalsoom Bibi, 50, was given a 12 month sentence yesterday after a court heard she made up an elaborate lie to Home Office officials so her family would be granted British citizenship.
Leeds Crown Court heard Bibi came to the UK from Pakistan in 2001 with her three daughters, then aged 15, 13 and ten, and made an application to stay.
She told officials that she had suffered abuse and violence from her husband and feared further attacks if she returned to Pakistan.
Louise Pryke, prosecuting, said the application was refused in 2002 and Bibi, who was then living in Thornbury Drive, Pudsey, Leeds, applied for asylum seeker status but failed to turn up for a screening interview.
Mrs Pryke said that was the last time authorities had contact with Bibi despite several other screening interviews being scheduled.
In October that year Bibi then applied for asylum under the name of Zulekha Khan and also made up names for her children.
This time she told officials that her husband was a drug addict who physically abused her and had tried to arrange a marriage for one of their children to another drug addict.
The application was accepted and the family were granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK before being awarded British citizenship and were issued with British passports.
The court heard during their time in the UK the family claimed £100 a week in benefits and had their housing paid for.
Mrs Pryke said Bibi had also travelled to Pakistan on several occasions after being granted British citizenship.
The deception did not come to light until earlier this year when photographs of Bibi and her children held on Home Office files were found to match those on the bogus application under Zulekha Khan.
Bibi, now of Cedar Close, Armley, Leeds, was arrested at her home and her passport was found during a search of the property.
In interview she was shown the photographs of herself and her three children from the 2001 application under her real name but refused to comment.
She later admitted the deception and pleaded guilty to remaining in the UK by deception and possessing a false identification document.
Shila Whitehead, for Bibi, told the court her client had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity and carried out the deception in order to protect her children.
Miss Whitehead said: “She does accept that what she did was wrong but she says she would have done anything to protect her children.”
Miss Whitehead said two of Bibi’s daughters were now married and had children of their own.
The barrister added that Bibi was suffering from diabetes and other health problems and continued to live with her youngest daughter. She added that Bibi was well enough to do unpaid work despite her problems and urged judge Guy Kearl QC to impose a community punishment.
Jailing Bibi, Judge Kearl said: “I take into account the manner in which you shopped around in your attempt to gain asylum on a false basis and the length of time over which you have perpetrated this deception and the benefits that have followed from that.”
He added: “You have been granted false passports and travel documents. You have used those to return to Pakistan and in interview you refused to comment when allegations were put to you and then you denied your true identity.”