A Cornish couple are pleading with the Home Office not to deport a 15-year-old schoolgirl who has lived with them for four years, since her mother was murdered in Ukraine. Iryna Mynich was staying with Terry and Heather Voysey, who help run a support group for people affected by the Chernobyl disaster, when Iryna's mum was killed in 2012.

The Voysey's have unsuccessfully appealed for Iryna to be given "leave to remain" and a final hearing takes place on Tuesday (30 August). Iryna faces deportation because she is classed as a migrant rather than a refugee or asylum seeker.

The girl's only family in Ukraine is her elderly grandmother, who suffers from dementia. This means Iryna could face life in one of the country's notoriously grim orphanages until she reaches 18.

Terry Voysey says that as he and his wife have paid for Iryna's education and health, she has not cost the country anything. They claim she is facing deportation because the government is under pressure to cut migration.

"I'm embarrassed that a country that has set itself up as 'Great' Britain can focus all of its efforts on a child in a desperate situation where there is nothing to be gained from it other than destroying a family," Terry told Sky News.

The Voyseys run a charity for children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, when a meltdown at the nuclear power station sent a radioactive cloud across Europe, with Ukraine and Belarus worst affected. Ukraine has also witnessed violence between the state and Russian-backed separatists in which thousands of people have died.

Now Iryna says she wants to stay in the UK rather than go back to Ukraine.

"I've heard a lot of what is happening there while I have been here and it's scary - murders, burglars, everything. It is scary, it's no life," said Iryna.

The schoolgirl wrote to Theresa May when the PM was home secretary but apparently without success.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "It would be inappropriate to comment while this case is ongoing."

Iryna Mynich Terry Heather Voysey
Iryna Mynich has lived with Cornwall couple Terry and Heather Voysey since her mum was murdered in the Ukraine GoFundMe/rh4a4c94