Essex

'Skywalker' passport row rumbles on

Laura Matthews and Luke Skywalker Image copyright AP/LUCASFILM
Image caption Laura "Skywalker" Matthews ended up changing her name back in order to get a passport

A woman who was refused a passport after adding "Skywalker" as a middle name has demanded an apology from the officials who dealt with her case.

Laura Matthews, from Southend, Essex, was told her signature "L. Skywalker" infringed a trademark in July 2014.

She said she had made a series of complaints about the way her case had been handled by the Passport Office.

The Home Office said it regretted it had taken "longer than hoped" to consider Ms Matthews' case.

A spokesman said "proper consideration" was being given to the complaint, adding: "This is being progressed and we are looking to provide a full response at the earliest opportunity".

Image caption Passport officials told Laura Elizabeth "Skywalker" Matthews her signature infringed a trademark

Ms Matthews, 30, said she had changed her name back by deed poll after months of going back and forth with the Passport Office.

In July 2014, Ms Matthews was told her signature infringed a trademark, and her name change would not be recognised.

The following month, officials told Ms Matthews her signature was valid after all and was issued with a passport.

But in December 2014, she was told the passport had been issued in error and had been cancelled.

She removed her "Skywalker" middle name when she said she had "no choice" but to revert to her birth name of Laura Elizabeth Matthews in order to get a passport.

Image caption The Passport Office has not answered Ms Matthews' request for information

In February last year, Ms Matthews requested all the information held on her by the Passport Office under the Data Protection Act, which organisations have 40 days to respond to.

Ms Matthews says she is still yet to receive the information she requested, more than a year later.

"I want to find out if the decision they made about my name change was correct. Why will they not release the information?" she said.

"These are people we trust to do things properly and they're not."

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