Mercy Baguma: Woman living in extreme poverty 'found dead next to malnourished baby' in Glasgow

A destitute asylum seeker was found lying dead next to her malnourished baby son in Glasgow, according to a charity.

Mercy Baguma, from Uganda, was found dead in her flat in the city’s Govan area on Saturday with the child crying beside her, Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) said. Authorities confirmed they had discovered the body of a 34-year-old woman.

In a statement, the charity said Baguma had been living in “extreme poverty” after losing her job, following the expiration of her leave to remain in the UK. After she began the process of claiming asylum she was forced to rely on friends and charities to obtain food, it said.

Baguma contacted PAIH on 11 August to ask for help. Though asylum seekers are entitled to a small weekly stipend (£37.75 for each person in a household), she told charity workers that she had not yet received any money.

The last time anyone heard from her was on 18 August.

Police Scotland said Baguma’s body was found at about 11.30am on Saturday and that her death was being treated as “unexplained, but not suspicious”. The procurator fiscal’s office also confirmed it was investigating.

Her son, found “weakened with starvation”, was taken to hospital and has since been released into the care of his father, who lives elsewhere in Glasgow, according to PAIH.

PAIH’s director, Robina Qureshi, said in a statement: “Had she lived she would have been a high priority for a crisis payment from our emergency relief fund.

“The question remains, why are mothers and babies being left to go hungry in this city, and why is it being left to charities and volunteers to pick up the pieces?

“Home Office asylum policy has created unimaginable hardship for refugees and migrant households in this city. It is a matter of when – not if – the next tragedy occurs and this reinforces our resolve for a public inquiry.”

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