Published: 08:00, 17 October 2019
| Updated: 08:35, 17 October 2019
A Kent couple who claim they were locked up in an American prison for accidentally crossing the border from Canada have returned to Britain having been deported.
David and Eileen Connors, from Maidstone, were on holiday with their three-month-old son near Vancouver when they reportedly took a detour while swerving to avoid an animal in the road and unwittingly entered the US.
A group of seven - also said to have included David’s brother, Michael, his wife Grace and their two-year-old twin daughters - were arrested by US Border Patrol officers earlier this month and later held at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Speaking to MailOnline after the family landed at Heathrow last night, Mrs Connors said the experience had been a "complete nightmare".
"The detention centre was freezing cold and the food was disgusting," the 24-year-old added.
"My baby got a cold in there and I wasn't even allowed to give him teething salt because the sachets were confiscated.
"My biggest regret is that we are now banned from America for at least five years - even the kids."
A statement from the family's lawyer published yesterday claimed David and Michael were separated from their wives and children.
And Eileen, who is said to have been detained with her baby in a women’s cell with a only foil blanket to keep warm on the first night, previously likened the experience to "an abduction or kidnapping".
She added: “We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights, and lied to.
“We have been traumatised... this would never happen in the United Kingdom to US citizens, or anyone else, because people there are treated with dignity.”
The family's lawyer told reporters they had no idea they had crossed any boundary, as US officials allege the couple's car was captured on camera turning into a ditch on the Canadian side of the border before scaling the other side to enter the country.
'My biggest regret is that we are now banned from America for at least five years - even the kids' - Eileen Connors
Immigration and Customs Enforcement teams have also denied the claims of inhumane conditions at the prison.
A spokesman said: "A vehicle was observed via remote video surveillance system turning west onto Avenue 0 in British Columbia, Canada, at approximately 9pm, Oct. 2.
"The vehicle then turned south and entered the U.S. illegally, by slowly and deliberately driving through a ditch onto Boundary Road in Lynden, Washington.
"The vehicle travelled west on Boundary Road continuing on the United States side, and was pulled over by a Border Patrol agent a short time later.
"The seven occupants of the vehicle, who are citizens of the United Kingdom, were arrested at approximately 9.13pm, in accordance with law as established by the Immigration and Nationality Act for illegally entering the United States without inspection."
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