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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Mother used baby as 'commodity'
Moira Greenslade
Moira Greenslade agreed surrogacy deals with three couples
Moira Greenslade, the woman jailed for trying to sell her baby through the internet, treated an innocent child as "a commodity", police have said.

Greenslade, 33, took money from two couples she contacted through a surrogacy website, and made a deal with a third.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Hopwood said: "This is a very sad case."

"An innocent baby, who had no choice in the matter, was treated as little more than a commodity, purely for financial gain," he added.

The West Yorkshire Police chief welcomed the two-year jail sentence given to Greenslade at Leeds Crown Court on Friday.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining money by deception and three offences under the Adoption Act.

Her explanation for committing the offences fell between a motivation to help childless couples and a personal motivation to make money.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Hopwood
Mr Hopwood said they were alerted when Peter and Sharon Robinson-Hudson, from Penycae, near Wrexham, contacted police to complain that Greenslade had cancelled their surrogacy agreement - despite receiving a 1,500 payment.

Officers found out that Greenslade was due to have an elective caesarean birth at Airedale General Hospital in West Yorkshire on 2 December 2003, accompanied by Dr Mark Johnson, a GP on the island of Benbecula off the west coast of Scotland, and his wife Michelle.

The hospital told police that Greenslade had also given birth to a baby as a surrogate mother in 2002, so they did not suspect anything untoward with her latest arrangement.

Mr Hopwood said the Johnson family attended Airedale Hospital on 2 December but Greenslade failed to turn up.

It then emerged that the Johnson family had agreed to pay her 9,000 for expenses and had actually paid 4,000, Mr Hopwood said.

Police searched Greenslade's home address and an examination of her computer revealed that she had been making arrangements with the Robinson-Hudson family, the Johnson family and a family in Southampton called Rashley.

Sharon and Peter Robinson-Hudson
Sharon and Peter Robinson-Hudson, from Wales, paid 1,500
Mr Hopwood said there was also evidence of families from America and elsewhere negotiating to adopt the baby.

Inquiries led them to the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, where they believed Greenslade would hand over the baby on birth to the Rashley family.

Working with colleagues from social services and Hampshire Police Child Protection Unit, West Yorkshire Police took steps to take the newly born child into protective care through the use of a Police Protection Order.

Greenslade was technically arrested on 11 December and later interviewed and charged with the offences for which she later appeared at Bingley Magistrates' Court.

Mr Hopwood said their inquiry was an unusual one and bemoaned the "weak legislation" surrounding Greenslade's actions.

"The offences associated with this act are summary only and officers and the Crown Prosecution Service finally and reluctantly agreed a range of charges within the Theft Act.

"Moira Greenslade herself co-operated fully with the investigation and provided an open account of her actions.

"Her explanation for committing the offences fell between a motivation to help childless couples and a personal motivation to make money.

"The circumstances of the previous surrogacy agreement made in 2002 do not give rise to any suggestion that this was an illegal arrangement and so far as the police and social services are concerned that matter is finalised."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Danny Savage
"She was obtaining money by deception from two couples"



SEE ALSO:
Internet baby sale mother jailed
21 May 04 |  West Yorkshire
Mother tried to sell baby online
29 Mar 04 |  West Yorkshire
Internet baby mother faces court
16 Mar 04 |  West Yorkshire


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