The DNA of a “miracle baby” which an evangelist claims was conceived through the power of prayer does not match those of her alleged parents, a coroner has ruled.
Dr William Dolman, of Hornsey Coroner’s Court, yesterday said Sarah, who died three weeks after she was born, was not related in any way to the couple claiming to be her parents, BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours reported.
The child was one of many babies who Gilbert Deya, head of controversial religious sect Gilbert Deya Ministries, claims were conceived through the power of prayer.
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It was the first time in eight centuries that an English coroner has had to decide whether a miracle has taken place.
Dr Dolman returned an open verdict into Sarah’s death – which he said was the most difficult case in his career – saying he was unsure how the baby died.
The mother, from north London, was told she was infertile and travelled to Nairobi where she claimed to have given birth last September, the programme said.
Dr Dolman told the programme: “For 800 years coroners have been investigating unnatural deaths and this is the first time that we’ve been asked to look into a miracle.”
“I am quite clear that no miracle took place and the scientific evidence is absolutely clear on this.
“This woman claims she travelled to Nairobi to give birth to this baby and she describes that birth in some detail. I’m convinced that that birth never took place and that baby Sarah is not her child.”
Dr Dolman told the programme the tragedy was that the real parents of baby Sarah had still not been traced and knew nothing of her death.
“We’ve done everything we can to find the real parents of this girl and I now fear that we will never know who she is,” he said.
“Even how she died is still unclear, although we’ve been able to rule out an attack or assault.”
The court heard evidence from the alleged mother’s local GP and hospital doctors that confirmed the woman was unable fall pregnant.
Dr Dolman said it was not up to him to decide if the parents had been tricked or something far more sinister was going on.
“A coroner has to ask four basic questions about the deceased. The first is who they were, usually the easiest to answer. In this case it’s the most difficult and I fear we shall never know,” he told the programme.
Dr Dolman is making arrangements for Sarah to be buried by Haringey Social Services.
Deya claims to help infertile couples in his congregation – now estimated to be 36,000 strong – have miracle babies but is wanted in his native Kenya over allegations that he traffics in children.
The Charity Commission has begun an investigation into the Gilbert Deya Ministries, which has churches in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham.
Last week, a High Court judge ruled that an infertile mother who gave birth to a so-called miracle baby was the victim of a “cruel deception by child traffickers”.
The boy, believed to be about one-year-old, was taken into care after tests revealed his DNA did not match either of its alleged parents.