Infant was stolen, judge says in ruling against preacher
LONDON — An infertile Nigerian couple who believed a self-styled preacher’s claim that their child was miraculously conceived were the victim of greedy international child traffickers, a British judge ruled Friday.
Relying on DNA evidence, Judge Ernest Ryder said the couple who claimed to be parents of the 1-year-old boy were victims of “a cruel deception to further the financial ends of those involved.”
Ryder said he found that Gilbert Deya, a London-based Kenyan preacher who claims to have helped infertile women conceive “miracle babies” by praying for them, was a “self-serving and superficial” witness.
The judge said the baby’s supposed mother, identified only as Mrs. E, “was deceived into thinking that she had given birth. She was seriously assaulted, and a live child who had been born to another family was presented to her as her child.”
Ryder ruled that the baby, identified only as C, was not the child of Mr. and Mrs. E, who live in Britain, and ordered “an urgent investigation” to find his real parents.
Ryder acknowledged that the couple were “good and loving carers of the child,” but said: “If C’s future care is founded upon a lie, he will likely suffer profound harm.”
Mingling with dozens of supporters outside the courtroom, Deya accused Ryder of religious discrimination.
He alleged that Kenyan authorities are persecuting him because of his ties to the country’s former ruler, Daniel arap Moi.
Mrs. E believed that 22 “miracle” babies had been born to Deya’s followers, and she believes she is pregnant again, Ryder said.
Kenyan officials in early September said they were investigating Nairobi’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital following allegations that some parents were told their newborns had died, but the babies were stolen.