How an accidental 2016 meeting between Kenyan lady and ex-British detective in Diani led to ugly child custody battle
Hellen Maria Imokor and Kevin Barry Hurley met in 2016 when Hurley visited the country as a tourist in Diani, Kwale County.
- Their love blossomed and by 2017, they welcomed a baby boy who is now at the center of the litany of court cases that began in 2019.
When Kevin Barry Hurley, a British national and former Scotland Yard Detective, visited Kenya as a tourist in 2016, a vicious and nasty child custody case was the last thing in his mind.
Yet Hurley has been embroiled in a custody case with his Kenyan ex-girlfriend, Hellen Maria Imokor, which has been lagging in court since 2019.
It has been a push and pull ever since, with the now four-year-old innocent baby exchanging hands between his father and mother, depending on the nature of a particular court order.
In the latest development, the High Court sitting in Mombasa last week ordered for a shared custody of the child. This was the second time Justice John Onyiengo was issuing similar directive, with both orders succeeding a lower court's ruling that had declared the mother unfit to have custody, therefore handing the child under the care of his father.
In Justice Onyiengo's first judgement, Imokor failed to comply with the court's directives and vanished with the minor who "went missing" for two weeks.
In his earlier ruling, Justice Onyiengo had stated, “If any party served with this order and fails to comply, with the same, shall be cited in contempt of court and is liable for a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both."
It is after the law caught up with Imokor that the court delegated the lower court which promptly handed the child to then care of his father.
Mother immoral, but granted custody
After this development, Imokor petitioned the high court in which Justice Onyiengo delivered his ruling, also declaring Imokor unfit, immoral and irresponsible, but still went ahead and granted her shared custody.
“However,” said the judge in regards to the father, “the respondent behaved with distinction. He was responsible, caring and paid school fees for the minor, even bought him a home worth ten million Kenya shillings and is therefore best suited to be with the child.” said the judge. Justice Onyiego further went ahead and stated that the father had one limitation; “he is a tourist enjoying stay in the country on a tourist visa!”
As for the mother, the judge noted that she is a vexatious, with no respect for court orders nor officers of the court including magistrates and children’s officers.
“She exhibited a high degree of dishonesty and is an irresponsible mother who keeps different men as lovers, often in her house,” he further declared, adding that it is a lifestyle not conducive to positive development of the child.
The High Court Judge further said that she is unkind to the child whose performance drops and health deteriorates whenever he is with her.
“Whenever custody was awarded to her, she disappeared to deny the father access,” in reference to the two instances she sneaked to Nigeria to hide the baby away from then father where the law caught up with her as an illegal migrant.
In one of the court documents filed before Justice Margaret Njoki Mwangi, Hurley alleges that on 21st May, 2021, at around 2:06pm, Imokor sent him a WhatsApp message suggesting that the child had been physically abused. He even produced a screenshot of the alleged message as annexure.
Consequently on 22nd May, 2021, a children's officer went to Mtwapa Police Station and recorded a report in a bid to locate where the child had been taken.
"The applicant [Hurley] annexed a copy of the report and the OB entry as exhibit 'KBH-5'. He [the children's officer] averred that the best interests of the minor are at risk and that substantial harm may come to the child if this Court did not intervene and ensure that the justice was served," the court documents seen by TV47 Digital reads in part.
According to section 174 of the penal code, stealing a child which has been described as taking a minor from lawful custody carries a seven-year sentence.
Kevin Barry Hurley, who feels like Justice Onyiengo should recuse himself from the case, says that he will appeal the ruling, even as the court cases continue.
How did they meet?
The two once lovebirds met in 2016 when Hurley visited the country as a tourist in Diani, Kwale County. Their love blossomed and by 2017, they welcomed a baby boy who is now at the center of the litany of court cases.
These cases began in 2019 when Imokor moved to the Mombasa High Court and filed a case seeking child upkeep for their son from her then former lover.
- Advertisement -