A Kenyan court sentenced the wife of a British-based evangelical preacher to two years in jail for stealing a child in an ongoing saga of missing infants said to be “miracle babies” produced by prayer.
Mary Deya, and two other women including a British citizen, were convicted of snatching a baby from a maternity hospital in Kenya in 2004.
“I find the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubts … I therefore convict each to two years imprisonment,” Nairobi High Court principal magistrate Teresia Ngugi said in her ruling.
Deya, who denied the charges and plans to appeal, has two more similar cases pending. The two jailed with her were fellow Kenyan Rose Kiserem and a British citizen Miriam Nykeo.
Kenyan authorities also want to extradite Deya’s husband, Gilbert Deya, on charges of abducting six children between 1999 and 2004. Deya and his church deny the charges, saying their prayers enable infertile women to give birth.
Kenyan police suspect the pastor, whose ministry is based in south-east London, may have been involved in the disappearance of as many as 20 children, selling some of them to childless couples in Britain.
Gilbert Deya promotes himself as archbishop in the Gilbert Deya Ministries which, according to its website, is “the fastest growing ministry in the UK and worldwide with a membership of over 34,000 in the UK alone”.