A WOMAN whose son died in a car crash has had her hopes of a new, happier chapter of her life dashed after immigration officials turned her American fiancé away from the country.

Angelina Johnson was heartbroken and struggled to cope after 17-year-old son Jed was killed when his car left the road and hit a tree near West Auckland, County Durham, last February (2014).

But earlier this month the 46-year-old, from Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland, found happiness again when she accepted a marriage proposal from her American partner Giuseppe Maini.

The couple struck up a friendship over the internet three years ago and Miss Johnson has visited him in Port Maine, California, three times.

On the most recent trip Mr Maini, an artist who has worked on films including Pulp Fiction and Stargate, and Ms Johnson got engaged.

She returned home on May 6 and he planned to follow a week later so they could begin to plan their future together.

When Mr Maini, 54, landed at Heathrow Airport, London, on Thursday morning, he was questioned by immigration officials and flown back to the US the next day.

Ms Johnson said they wrongly believed Mr Maini intended to work in the UK as he had paint brushes in his luggage.

She said: “When I was in America we got advice and were told he could visit me without a visa.

“I wanted him to see my life here, see England and meet the people so we could decide where we wanted to get married and live.

“If it was here we would go through the proper channels and do it right, now we’re told he needs a fiancee visa and that could take a long time and cost a lot to sort out.

“They sent a man back wrongly and treated him shabby, now he is feeling low and needs help.”

Having moved out of rented accommodation before leaving America, Mr Maini is currently sheltering in 24-hour cafes where he can get internet access to stay in touch with Ms Johnson.

Mr Maini said: “I told them I had my brushes to paint Angelina’s dead son a mural.

“Where I am is cold and dangerous, I’m sick and just want to be with Angelina.”

Ms Johnson, a former butcher who is now disabled, said: “We’ve both had crap lives, lost a lot of close family and feel like fate has somehow brought us together.

“I know it sounds like a dream but it is genuine and real.

“When they sent him back it was a real blow, when will there ever be a chance for me to happy?”

A Home Office spokesman said: “People seeking leave to enter the country as a visitor must satisfy Border Force that they are coming for the purpose stated and they do not intend to take employment or stay permanently.

“If they fail to do so they will be refused entry.

“Non EU nationals who intend to work in the UK or settle in this country must secure the correct visa before travelling.”

Ms Johnson is now getting advice from Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman’s office.