Baby trafficked by self-proclaimed archbishop Gilbert Deya
Police are investigating allegations of serious abuse of a five-year-old victim of child trafficking while he was in the care of Haringey, the London council that failed to prevent the death of Baby P.
The Metropolitan police child abuse team launched the investigation last month after claims that the child was being beaten while in the care of his adoptive family. Concerns were raised by Dr Hamish Cameron, a consultant child psychiatrist, after the boy was taken to hospital.
The boy had been snatched from his home in Africa and presented to a follower of Gilbert Deya, a self-styled archbishop who claimed to be able to cure infertility through prayer. Once the child was in the UK, the follower adopted the boy – known as Child C – as a “miracle baby“. He was seized by police and since 2003 has been passed between six different sets of carers. Deya faces extradition to Kenya, where he is wanted on child abduction charges.
The police investigation was launched after Sharon Shoesmith, the suspended director of Haringey’s department of children’s services, was presented with a dossier of evidence from whistleblowers claiming the toddler had been suffering abuse and physical harm. The NSPCC has also been asked to investigate, a spokesman for the council confirmed.
The police investigation will come as a fresh blow to Haringey, which was severely censured last week for its “inadequate” child protection measures following the death of Baby P, who died despite 50 visits from social workers and other public agencies. The children’s minister, Ed Balls, described an Ofsted report into the department’s child protection measures as “devastating”.
Details of the borough’s handling of Child C’s case and his alleged suffering were considered in the joint area review published last week. The review did not contain details of particular cases, only broad conclusions. Council leader George Meehan and Liz Santry, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, resigned. Shoesmith ordered the investigation into Child C’s welfare in one of her last acts as director of children’s services before she was suspended at Balls’s insistence. Shoesmith was criticised in the joint area review for management failings.
A dossier of allegations of abuse against Child C, seen by the Guardian, warns that “a stream of information about his unhappiness and partial rejection by his adopters” flowed from numerous anonymous phone messages.
The documents track Child C’s life with his latest adoptive parents, and suggest he may have been unwanted and abused.
The anonymous complainants warned that he was screaming and unhappy, tended to bang walls, and would not eat properly. The adoptive mother was said to have complained that Child C was “wrecking our marriage” and left the boy with a social worker.
New Haringey inquiry over allegations of second child abuse case
[…] Child C’s short life has already been very traumatic. He has twice been snatched by Haringey social workers, once even from one of their own foster carers who was considered to have the wrong racial background.
He was first taken into care when he was just a few weeks old after it was apparent that the infertile couple purporting to be his parents were not actually related to him. It transpired that prior to being brought to the UK he had been born in Kenya and presented to the “mother” as a supposedly “miracle baby” by controversial evangelical pastor Gilbert Deya.
Deya, who is based in Peckham, south London, is now facing extradition to Kenya where he is wanted on child trafficking charges. His wife Mary was convicted there of child theft in 2007 and sentenced to two years in prison.
Since its first intervention in November 2003, when Child C was snatched from his “parents” by a team of nine police officers, Haringey council has faced allegations that it has acted in both a heavy-handed manner and also allowed the child to suffer emotionally and physically.
Child C was placed in five short-term foster placements before finding stability. His sixth, and final, foster carer, who looked after him for 15 months, forged a strong bond with the child, but partly because her north African ethnic background was different to that of the boy, Haringey council opposed her application to adopt him.
Instead, social workers fast-tracked his adoption by a black couple of Caribbean origin instead.
A judge ordered a gradual handover of Child C, but instead he was snatched screaming from outside the foster carer’s home by social workers without being allowed to even say goodbye.
A complaint about the manner of the removal made by the foster carer was partially upheld. An report into the complaint acknowledged that the removal was “sudden and very quick but not brutal”.
Cameron said, however: “There has been a miscarriage of justice and the child will be severely traumatised.”
Since being placed with the adoptive parents allegations have surfaced that Child C was admitted to intensive care in a coma in 2006, something Haringey has denied, as well as also being taken to hospital earlier this year with a head injury.
The adoptive mother is said to have demanded money from the council which she said she was owed and tried to leave Child C with social workers, complaining the boy was “wrecking my marriage”.
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