An illegal immigrant from Nigeria was granted leave to remain in Britain after falsely alleging that her daughters would be subjected to female genital mutilation if they were sent back.
A high court judge ruled that the three girls, aged 13, 10 and seven, needed protection from their father after hearing claims he was making arrangements for them to be “cut”.
In a landmark case the girls became the first subjects of a female genital mutilation (FGM) protection order, by the British courts.
But that decision has now been overturned after a different judge dismissed the claim, describing it as part of an “immigration scam”.
The case will raise concerns that more illegal migrants could seek to dishonestly take advantage of tough new rules aimed at protecting young girls from barbaric FGM practices.
The family arrived in Britain in 2012 on a two year visitor visa but when the husband returned to Nigeria the woman stayed on with the children.
Last summer she twice failed to persuade the Home Office to allow her to remain in the UK, but then 19 days later made the claims about her daughters facing the threat of FGM.
Mr Justice Holman said despite only hearing one side of the story the threat was so great the family should be allowed to remain.
But following the decision, the father travelled to London to deny that he had ever intended to subject the girls to FGM and a different judge declared that the woman had “fundamentally and dishonestly misrepresented the true position”.
Mr Justice MacDonald said it was “more likely than not” that the allegations had been part of an “immigration scam”.
The judge has also ruled that the children should no longer live with their mother in London but be cared for by their father – and he has given the man permission to move the youngsters to Nigeria.
The judge also concluded that the woman was lying when she claimed to have been subjected to FGM.