A "wholly blameless" woman who was bullied and harassed by immigration officers has been awarded £125,000 damages against the Government.

What was intended to be a "family visit of a lifetime" for Radha Patel turned into "a nightmare of unimagined proportions", said Deputy Judge Anthony Thornton at London's High Court.

Mrs Patel, 34, claimed for her unlawful detention between May 23 and 28 2011, for the deliberate and malicious ill-treatment when she was interrogated, for the concoction of admissions she was alleged to have made and for her treatment following her detention.

The judge said that the housewife, who lived in Gujarat State, India, was invited by her younger sister, who had emigrated to the UK in 2003, to stay as a guest at the family home in Harrow, Middlesex, while her husband was working in the Seychelles and her two children were being cared for by her in-laws.

Her sister sponsored her visit by paying for all her travel and living expenses for what was intended to be a three-month visit.

Regrettably, said the judge, Mrs Patel's preliminary check point interview at Heathrow was neither fairly conducted nor reliably noted down on the landing card and the language in which it was conducted was Hindi, which she barely spoke.

What seemed to have happened was that an immigration officer had an "initial hunch or prejudiced assumption" that her purpose in coming to the UK was to obtain unlawful employment and to remain after her visa had expired - and that her answers as translated to him which appeared to deny any intention to work or overstay were lies.

The judge said that Mrs Patel's evidence was "credible and reliable" - she had never intended to take paid employment sewing curtains and consistently denied this throughout the lengthy interviews she was subjected to on her arrival.

She never made any of the core admissions attributed to her and the immigration officer knew he was falsely noting down what she had said.

During the interviews, unsuccessful attempts were made to bully, frighten and cajole her into making admissions and, despite her having not wavered in her denials, her leave to enter was cancelled, she was refused leave to enter, detained pending her removal from the UK and her passport confiscated.

"The total effect of these actions and omissions was to greatly interfere with her family visit, cause her to be falsely and unlawfully detained, humiliate, bully and harass her, cause her considerable stress and anxiety over a 10-month period, further harass her by using unlawful means to involve her in three different sets of legal proceedings, greatly to interfere with her family life with her parents and siblings in the UK and with her husband and two children in Gujarat and prevent her returning to her family against her will for a period of five months after the conclusion of the planned period of her family visit."

He said that Mrs Patel's claim was based on the "remarkable history" of her case.

"She was detained in particularly extreme and unlawful circumstances in that the detaining officer from the outset was clearly determined to detain and remove her without the slightest evidence available to him to support that cause of action.

"Throughout, he was determined to create grounds for removal and detention where none existed and he resorted to a series of unlawful stratagems to achieve his ends.

"He arranged for her to be interviewed in her preliminary interview in a language she was barely familiar with, she was detained without explanation and with no decision being served upon her, she was a single, obviously vulnerable and easily frightened woman in her early 30s who had rarely travelled, was tired and anxious and was known to have a brother waiting for her to whom she could turn for assistance had that been allowed."

"She was bullied and harassed without explanation for several hours in an attempt to get her to admit that she was intending to act in an unlawful manner although she had no such intentions and made her lack of intentions clear repeatedly and to the obvious anger of her interrogator.

"She appears to have been kept in the company of a male interrogator and was not provided with a female immigration officer who could have ensured that her treatment was kept within reasonable bounds, who could have brought a realistic and common sense understanding of the likelihood of her sewing curtains in a private home for paid employment with no experience and limited available resources in a cramped private house.

"She was terrified throughout, she was provided with no access to outside assistance, she was formally interviewed in a significant breach of the relevant guidance, admissions were invented and then attributed to her and the relevant documents were created after her leave had been terminated and she had been detained."

The judge said that the actual period in detention was relatively short but the nature of the breaches and unlawful acts giving rise to that detention, the absence of any excuse or justification for the "callous and deliberate behaviour" or of any remorse or even acknowledgement of that behaviour, the blamelessness of Mrs Patel and the potentially very severe consequences for her and her family pointed to an increased award.

Awarding her £110,000 in general and aggravated damages and under the Human Rights Act, and £15,000 in exemplary damages - which are recoverable where the abuse of power by public officials is particularly oppressive and arbitrary - the judge said that the case was a "precautionary tale".

It had arisen because of the "outrageous behaviour" of an immigration officer and a chief immigration officer who considered it appropriate to manufacture evidence to secure what they considered to be the rightful outcome of an unlawful entry even though there was no basis for that belief.

"It is to be deeply regretted that this behaviour was meted out to a wholly blameless family visitor who was an adult, female, vulnerable lone traveller whose sole purpose in entering the UK was to pay an extended family visit to her parents and other close members of her family who were permanently resident in the UK and three of whom were British nationals who she had not previously visited in the UK.

"For her, it was intended to be a family visit of a lifetime that turned into a nightmare of unimagined proportions. That nightmare was only rescued and bought to an end by her courage and determination and that of her family members with the assistance of the professional expertise of her counsel and legal representative.

"It is to be hoped that Radha and her family can now put these events behind them and resume a happy and contented family life albeit split between two continents."

The judge gave the Home Office permission to appeal.