Forest Gate mother ‘tried to sell baby for �35,000’
Court told woman and deal broker caught in newspaper sting in hotel room as police listened in
A Forest Gate mother tried to sell her baby daughter to a childless couple for �35,000.
But she and the deal broker were caught in a Sunday newspaper sting.
And police who were listening in as the deal was being struck in a Stratford hotel room swooped.
Pakistani businessman Mohammad Javaid, 48, is said to have promised a name-change and fake birth certificate for the new parents, the Old Bailey heard.
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He and the 28-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, turned up with the 11-month-old babe-in-arms for the handover at the Viking Hotel on Romford Road, following a series of taped phone conversations, it was said.
Unknown to them, police were listening in the next room and waiting for the signal from the reporters.
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Christopher Foulkes, prosecuting, said the mother’s 31-year-old husband, not the father of her child, was also involved.
All three are accused of child cruelty over the unvetted adoption, and slavery charges.
He said the plot came to light when estate agent Javaid told an associate, Asad Ali, that there was a “baby for sale”. Mr Ali told the News of the World and the paper employed a fake couple to pose as customers.
The newspaper informed police, and the investigation concluded with a meeting on September 22, last year, in the hotel room to which Javaid and the mother brought the baby to hand over to the couple in return for �35,000 in cash.
Javaid and the couple, of Forest Gate, deny conspiracy to commit child cruelty and holding a person in slavery between September 1 and 23 last year.
It is understood the baby has been taken into the care of Newham Social Services.
Mr Foukes said the undercover reporters posed as a couple from Birmingham who run a cash-and-carry, jurors heard.
Kitted out with recording equipment they arranged to meet Javaid on September 14 at his home, with the mother and child. Javaid told them the woman had arrived in the UK some time ago on a visitor’s visa. He gave them a sob story about her marrying, but her husband since leaving her, it was claimed.
Javaid, from Ilford, then showed them a birth certificate and offered to create them a new Pakistani one.
When asked about money Javaid replied: “Actually Sir, God forgive me we should be talking about the price, but anyway, I’m telling you just to be frank.”
A reporter said: “We are giving you �10,000 and also paying you for all her expenses from here to there.” At another meeting Mr Foulkes said: “The mother confirmed that she understood she was to give up her baby for �25,000 and not contact the couple purchasing the baby.”
On September 22 the surveillance room was set up in the hotel and the reporters were briefed by police.
The trial continues.