Childless Ashford couple jailed over baby smuggled from Africa
Miessan claimed she found
the child in a street bin. File picture: Photodisc
by Paul Hooper
A childless Ashford couple who desperately tried to start a
family for more than a decade have been jailed - for smuggling
in a baby from Africa.
Kacou Miessan, 44, and 39-year-old wife Raymonde tried to
conceive unsuccessfully for 13 years, including failed IVF
The couple were so set on being parents, Raymonde returned to
her native Sierra Leone and returned a few months later in May last
year clutching a baby boy.
"We intended to give something good back by giving Matys a good life...” – Raymonde Miessan
Raymonde registered the birth in her home country and because
she was a French national was able to get a passport for him – and
the two then began their new life with "dad" in Crownfield Road,
But now a judge at Canterbury Crown Court has
heard the "mum" had lied to the authorities about giving
birth - she had never been pregnant.
She later told a story about own her mother finding the child in
a street bin – still attached to his umbilical chord – and offering
it to her.
Raymonde went to Sierre Leone and registered him as her own. DNA
tests would later reveal child's parents were most likely from
South Africa or Namibia.
James Bilsland, prosecuting, revealed the tangled web of
lies that stretched from Sierra Leone to Ashford Borough
Council – and now to jail.
The truth about the affair only came to light during an
acrimonious bust-up with a relative over sub-letting of property
which wound up at Canterbury County Court for judgement.
Christopher Harding, defending Raymonde, said the district judge
asked Kacou if the child had been brought here illegally – and he
The case was then referred to social services and now the baby
they always wanted has been put up for adoption – and the
couple have each been sent to prison for 12 months for the
Raymonde Miessan brought
a child back from Sierra Leone
Kacou's barrister Puneet Rai said: "From the outset he has been
open and honest about what had occurred. He was at pains
emphasising was the joy this child had brought to them."
Mr Harding added: "Because of the failure of the IVF treatment
this was in effect an act of desperation. They have now already
suffered by the loss of this child."
Raymonde told investigators: "We did it to help him. We are
sorry we didn't do it by the rules. We intended to give something
good back by giving him a good life."
Raymonde had told police that in her home country "no one was
She said: "Everybody's life is precious. There were loads of
children who were abandoned. I am sorry that I laugh because it's a
good job I only came back with one. If I had been able to I would
have brought in more because there were loads of children who were
abandoned... there were loads of children dead.
"It is true that I lied to the authorities, but to me it was to
save a child from death, give him an identity, a name, an
education. Now he has been taken away from me."
Raymonde revealed that when she was with the baby, she
received a call from her husband asking her to get the baby to
speak down the telephone.
Her husband said: "I wanted to hear his voice. I say something
stupid to her like 'Please make him cry so I can hear his
voice', so I can use my telephone to record his voice. At least I
will always have his voice on my telephone."
Kacou – who only played father for eight weeks before the
truth was revealed - added: "He was everything to us.
"He is more than everything to us. For us, he was a present from
"So we said that we were going to take care of him, give him a
very good education as far as we can. I was going to try to save
some money for him so that he can go to university. I wanted the
best for him.
"For us it's not enough because we want to stay with him not
only for one hour a day, but I want to stay and look at him. I want
to change his nappy. I want to give him his food. I will do
"We didn't do this to harm him, to do something wrong. We done
it to help him to get a better life. I just don't know what is
going to happen to him now.
"It is true we didn't do it the right way but we didn't want to
deceive anyone. For us it was him, it's not like we did it for some
kind of return, to claim some benefits."
But Judge Adele Williams, pictured right, told them: "The
mischief in this offence was that you disguised the child's
identity, travelling across international borders on a false ID. It
is a very serious matter.
"You told lies about the child's identity and subverted all the
proper and necessary checks and procedures."
The couple had admitted smuggling the child into the UK
with fake documents.
Matys has since been taken into care and a High Court judge has
ruled he is to be offered for adoption.
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