He is the self-styled “archbishop” who claims to help infertile women have miracle babies – but Gilbert Deya stands accused by the Kenyan authorities of child trafficking. He is also at the centre of an international investigation by Scotland Yard’s child abuse unit and has been described by a High Court judge as “self-serving” and “economical with the truth”.
Yet Mr Deya invited the Evening Standard to witness his latest cruel hoax, parading two “pregnant” women at his headquarters – a converted warehouse in South Bermondsey – as a means of establishing what he claims is his “complete innocence”.
Caroline Rook and Deon Dawkins-Scott are convinced they became pregnant only after worshipping at the Gilbert Deya Ministry and experiencing the ” power of Jesus through Archbishop Deya”.
Both admit their own doctors have told them they are not pregnant. Mrs Dawkins-Scott insists she is three months overdue.
Mr Deya told the Standard: “I am not a liar. I am not a child trafficker. How can I fool women into believing they are pregnant?”
His invitation came two weeks after a woman sent by Mr Deya to Kenya to give birth to a “miracle baby” was told the child was in fact the son of unknown parents. A one-year-old boy is now in care.
The woman, known as Mrs E, told the High Court she had been pregnant for only 27 days when she went to a Nairobi clinic with Mr Deya’s wife. She did not see the moment of birth, after which the baby was held up for her. Mr Justice Ryder said child traffickers has stolen the infant.
Mr Deya also faces extradition to Kenya over allegations that he sold the one-year-old he claims to be the youngest of his 15 children. His wife Mary is in detention on baby-stealing charges and the Charity Commission has frozen his assets. But now he claims Mrs Rook and Mrs Dawkins-Scott will prove he is telling the truth. Mrs Dawkins-Scott, a Jamaican-born student, says she is almost 12 months pregnant, incredible in itself. She also admits she has had
both Fallopian tubes removed. The 37-year-old said: “I started feeling movement inside me last December. My GP scanned me but saw nothing, though I have all the symptoms of being pregnant.
“I’ve been pregnant before and lost the child at five months. I know the symptoms. I can feel the baby moving inside me. If it’s not a baby then what is it?”
She began attending Mr Deya’s church three years ago to pray for a child. “My prayers have been answered. This pregnancy is a miracle,” she said. “Christ, through the archbishop, has created this miracle. These stories about stolen babies are a lie.”
Mrs Rook, a self-employed businesswoman and mother of two, said she became pregnant eight months ago, despite giving up hope following a miscarriage in 2001. Tests carried out by her GP have proved negative.
The 40-year-old, from Nigeria and now living in Greenwich, said: “For a long time we tried for another child but nothing happened until earlier this year. At first I thought I was getting fat so I did lots of exercise, but then I started missing my periods. My GP did a urine test, which was negative, but then I started feeling the baby inside me.
“I had a scan at Lewisham hospital and they said there was nothing, but my breasts have grown, my body has changed.”
Then, in an extraordinary move, Mrs Rook urged this reporter to put his hands on her swollen belly. It was impossible from this to establish one way or the other the truth of her claim.
Unlike the women Mr Deya sent to Kenya to give birth, both say they are planning to have their children in Britain. Mr Deya says the women, who he claims have been declared pregnant by two of the ministry’s qualified doctors, were proof he is no baby-trafficker but a victim of a smear campaign.
He said: “I have encouraged 36,000 in my community to believe in Jesus’s miracles. What have I done wrong? I perform miracles. I have a power. I raise my hands and say ‘receive’ and after that some of the women tell me they have become pregnant.”