Infertile couple in battle for 'miracle' baby taken into care
Diane Taylor and Hugh Muir
Wednesday September 28, 2005
An infertile couple who claim to have given birth to a "miracle" baby are to go to court in an attempt to win back custody of the child from social services.
The couple, who cannot be named, are going to the high court to oppose the baby being put up for adoption. The authority, Haringey council in north London, will resist the application.
The couple are members of Gilbert Deya Ministries, the controversial church which claims to be Britain's fastest growing religious movement. Its leader claims to have used prayer to help infertile members of his congregation have children.
Last year Mr Justice Ryder rejected the couple's claim to have conceived the child and ruled that the baby had been trafficked into the country. Tests of the child's DNA did not match that of either parent. The judge said the child's identity had been "stolen from him".
The legal battle over the fate of Baby C has already cost more than £1m. He has had six care placements in less than two years, and two adoption attempts have fallen through because attempts to clarify his status have taken so long.
The woman who claims to be his mother entered Britain from Kenya when he was around three months old and registered him with her GP in north London. The doctor knew she had a condition that made it impossible for her to have a baby. Social services took Baby C into care and obtained the interim order.
The 38-year-old woman told the high court that Baby C was the second of three "miracle" babies born to her after prayers, and she was pregnant with him for just 27 days. She said the first of her babies died soon after birth in Kenya and the third was taken by Kenyan authorities.
Tests in London had not shown her to be pregnant but the wife of the church's leader, Gilbert Deya, had taken her to a doctor in Kenya who confirmed that she was. The woman claimed she was taken to a clinic by Mrs Deya and given an injection. She did not see the birth because of her distended abdomen and her position.
The Rt Rev Dominic Walker, Bishop of Monmouth, an expert on the paranormal, said: "The facts speak for themselves. Babies go missing, other people who are not pregnant have babies, the DNA doesn't match. The suggestion that a woman who is not pregnant can produce a baby goes beyond even what Christians understand miracles to be. Although Christians believe in the Virgin birth we would assume that Jesus had the same DNA as Mary."
Scotland Yard is investigating Mr Deya. His ministry claims 34,000 members, and includes branches in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Twenty "miracle" babies have been taken into care in Kenya, where his wife, Mary, has been charged with stealing a baby. Kenya's authorities say they will seek an extradition warrant for her husband. On his website, Mr Deya attacks the "persecution" of his family, particularly in Kenya. "I thank God I am a free man in England," he says.