A nurse who ‘wove a web of lies’ in her attempt to smuggle a Nigerian baby into the UK has been stuck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Gladys Effa-Heap and her academic husband Dr Simon Heap (pictured below), from Oxfordshire, had pretended the nurse gave birth unexpectedly during a holiday to Nigeria, just days after they arrived.
DNA tests were conducted after authorities became suspicious of the child’s parentage, which proved that it was not biologically related to the couple.
Effa-Heap was convicted last year of breaking immigration laws at Isleworth Crown Court last year, where she lied by saying she had already been stuck off the nursing registry in an attempt to reduce her sentence, a court heard.
Prior to travelling to Nigeria, Effa-Heap had been signed off work due to back pain.
She and her husband later travelled to Nigeria, where they claimed that Effa-Heap had unexpectedly given birth, despite no evidence of pregnancy being reported by doctor’s examinations prior to her trip.
They then attempted to apply for a British passport for the child at the British High Commission at Lagos in Nigeria, using counterfeit documents, such as a birth notice stating Baby O was born on the 6 July at the Immanuel Infirmary, and a birth certificate stating Baby O was born in Calabar on the 7 July.
Authorities grew suspicious and a DNA test was undertaken, revealing that the child was not related to Effa-Heap, or her husband, in any way.
She was given a 12 month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.
Jessica Holmes, for the NMC, said: ‘In July 2010 the registrant was on annual leave from her registered role as compliance manager.
‘She left the jurisdiction and travelled to Nigeria, where on her own account she unexpectedly gave birth to a female child on the 6 July.
‘Thereafter she attempted to obtain a UK passport for the child in order to bring the child to the UK.
‘Further enquiries were made and it was discovered that the child was not biologically related to either her or her husband.
‘Her explanation to the Crown court was that she had entered into this because her and her husband wanted a child after 20 years of trying to conceive.
‘Through her representative, the registrant informs the Crown Court judge that she has been struck off the register by the NMC and that she will never work as a nurse again.
‘It was quite wrong of the registrant to have represented to the Crown Court judge that she had been struck off in April when in fact she had not even been referred to the NMC until June.’
The judge took the lies about losing her career into account, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council panel.
Holmes said: ‘As far as you are concerned Mrs Effa-Heap, you have lost an enormous amount – you can no longer work as a nurse.
‘At the time of this offence you had a good job earning some £45,000 a year and you had a proud career behind you and ahead of you that has been ruined.
‘It is cynical to say to a judge that she has been struck off the NMC register and will never work as a nurse again and her career has been ruined when she knew full well that was not the case.’
In a letter to the NMC sent prior to the hearing, Effa-Heap of Wayneflete Road, Headington, Oxfordshire said she was a ‘nurse at heart’.
But Holmes said she had conducted ‘a premeditated and determined course of action calculated to deceive’.
At a panel at the British High Comission, panel chair Robin Stephenson said Effa-Heap was found to have woven a ‘web of deceit’ and has been thrown out of the profession.
Mr. Stephenson said: ‘The panel considered that her web of deceit related to misleading numerous authorities from her own employer to the British High Commission and the court at Isleworth.
‘The panel also noted that Ms Effa-Heap was in a senior position, as compliance manager, and that a vulnerable child was involved.
He said the remarks of the sentencing judge who said the consequences of her behaviour were ‘the creation of a market for the illegal adoption of children.
‘The panel did not consider that the conviction was a “single instance of misconduct” but in fact repeated attempts to circumvent the adoption systems in two countries and also repeated dishonest actions which culminated in misleading the judge at the sentencing stage.
‘The panel emphasised that informing the judge at the sentencing hearing that she was struck off from the register, when in fact she had not even been referred, compounded the earlier lies she had told and is an example of persistent dishonesty.’
He said Effa-Heap’s insight into her actions as ‘virtually nil’.
Striking her name from the register, Mr. Stephenson concluded that the nurse’s misconduct was ‘fundamentally incompatible with her ongoing registration’.
Effa-Heap will not be able to apply for restitution for five years.
Culled from Daily Mail