A WOMAN who tried to smuggle two babies into the UK from Nigeria was on Monday sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court.

Ijeoma Udechukwu, 51, from Kennington, southeast London, was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, 180 hours unpaid work and an £80 surcharge for facilitation after attending the British High Commission in Lagos in possession of passport applications for two babies.

Udechukwu presented two completed applications for the youngsters which she falsely claimed were hers. In fact she was attempting to assist them in gaining illegal entry into the UK.

Staff became suspicious due to her having given birth one week after her arrival in Nigeria in April 2010, and the fact she was unable to produce any ante natal or delivery notes.

A subsequent DNA test revealed she was not the biological mother of either infant and the applications were refused. Udechukwu returned to the UK leaving the babies in the care of family and friends.

On September 4 2012 officers from what was Operation Paladin attended Udechukwa’s address in Kennington, where false Nigerian adoption papers were discovered stating that the children had been found abandoned in the street.

She refused to answer any questions about the fact she had lied to staff at the British High Commission by claiming she had given birth to them; and also refused to confirm how she came into possession of the babies, where she got them from, or where their biological mother was.

Detective constable Tony Foran, from the Metropolitan Police’s Sexual Exploitation team, said: “Adoption laws and procedures are in place in every country to protect the welfare and lives of vulnerable children and young people.

“The conviction of Udechukwu underpins the value of joint working and the commitment of all those agencies involved to safeguard children.” – Voice

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