Custody of child handed over to woman who was tricked into believing she gave birth

Pregnant woman illustration 
By: Hydar Tomar 

A woman was granted custody of a child who is not hers after being tricked into believing she gave birth, according to court proceedings.

Justice Coleridge said there was evidence that the woman who searched for fertility treatment in Nigeria, was sold an unwanted baby for very large sums of money after scammers had deceived her into thinking that she was pregnant and giving birth.

The judge further said that there was more than one case like this with almost identical facts before the English courts. The judge described the situation as very serious and questioned the lack of involvement of the Nigerian authorities.

The judge expressed concern after the application of a couple, who had been the victim of a scam, for custody of the baby they had believed was theirs.

Judge Coleridge, sitting in the Family Division of the Superior Court, said that the case involving a Nigerian couple in London is very worrying and led to very real public interest.

"This is a very serious situation," he said.

"It is not the only case. In fact, there are a few almost identical cases in the courts at this time. This of course led to very real public interest, especially the lack of involvement of the Nigerian authorities."

He continued: "The circumstances of this case are quite unusual, strange and very worrying indeed."

The court heard that the couple from London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been scammed and cheated by being forced to pay about $9,000 for so called fertility treatment.

The case went to court when social services began to suspect that they were not the biological parents of the baby and took the baby away.

When a DNA test revealed the truth, the woman insisted that she had been drugged while undergoing a process she thought was a real birth and believed that the child was hers.

Judge Coleridge concluded that she and her husband were trapped as involuntary participants of a scam and that the baby should be returned to them as special guardians.