A controversial preacher who claimed his prayers could help infertile couples produce “miracle babies” was arrested today and faces extradition to Kenya.
Gilbert Deya, 54, is wanted in Kenya on six allegations of child kidnap. Previous court cases in Britain have ruled that some “miracle babies” were in fact the likely product of child trafficking.
Mr Deya was arrested in London by members of Scotland Yard’s extradition and international assistance unit after a request from the Kenyan authorities, the force said. He will appear before the City of Westminster magistrates court this afternoon.
The preacher, who says he was consecrated as an archbishop in the US in 1992, is head of the Gilbert Deya Ministries religious movement, which has an estimated 36,000-strong following in the UK and is one of the country’s fastest-growing religious movements.
He insists he has helped infertile couples have children “through the power of prayer and the Lord Jesus”, but faces repeated accusations that he trafficked children from the slums of Nairobi.
In 2004, a high court judge ruled that one so-called miracle baby was the victim of child traffickers, making the findings of a private court hearing public to warn of the “cruel deception” and to try to trace the boy’s real parents.
The woman who claimed to be the mother, identified as Mrs E, said she had delivered him after a 27-day pregnancy as a miraculous gift from God. The case was reported to authorities when she registered the child with her GP, who knew the woman had a condition that made it impossible for her to have a child.
The one-year-old boy was taken into care after DNA tests did not match either of his supposed parents. He was placed with an adoptive family in July this year.
In another 2004 case, the coroner William Dolman said that DNA tests showed a baby called Sarah, who died aged three weeks, was not related to either of her alleged parents.
Dr Dolman noted at the time that British coroners had been ruling on unnatural deaths for 800 years but this was “the first time that we’ve been asked to look into a miracle”. No miracle had occurred, he concluded.
Twenty of Mr Deya’s “miracle babies” have been taken into care in Kenya after DNA tests showed they had no genetic connection to their mothers.
The pastor, whose ministry also has churches in Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester, says he casts out devils and cures illnesses, as well as creating babies through prayer.
Speaking outside court after one case in 2004, he said: “I believe that my faith should be respected as I am one of the human beings who has a vision and my vision should not be discredited as other visions.”