A childless couple who desperately tried to start a family for more than a decade have been jailed for smuggling in a baby from Africa.
Kacou Miessan, 44, and wife Raymonde, 39, tried to conceive unsuccessfully for 13 years including failed IVF treatment.
The married couple were so set on being parents that Mrs Miessan travelled to her native Sierra Leone and returned a few months later in May last year clutching a baby boy.
Although the couple claimed the baby was found in a bin, it is not known where they actually found him, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Mrs Miessan registered the birth in her home country. Because she was a French national from Sierra Leone, she was able to get a passport for him before the family began a new life in Ashford, Kent.
James Bilsland, prosecuting, told the court she had lied to the authorities about giving birth when in fact she had never been pregnant.
When the couple had a row with a relative over subletting of property, another judge made the discovery that the child had been brought into Britain illegally.
The couple were confronted and told police Mrs Miessan's own mother found the child in a street bin – still attached to his umbilical cord – and offered it to her.
But when the district judge asked Mr Miessan if the child had been brought to the UK illegally, he confessed.
The couple were jailed for 12 months last week by Judge Adele Williams.
She told them: ''The mischief in this offence was that you disguised the child's identity, travelling across international borders on a false ID. It is a very serious matter.
"You told lies about the child's identity and subverted all the proper and necessary checks and procedures."
At Canterbury Crown Court last month, the Miessans admitted smuggling the child into the UK with fake documents.
The baby has now been taken into care and a High Court judge has ruled that he is to be offered for adoption.
DNA tests disclosed that the child's parents are likely to be from South Africa or Namibia, the court was told.
The court heard Mrs Miessan told investigators: "We did it to help him. We are sorry we didn't do it by the rules.
"We intended to give something good back by giving [the baby] a good life."
Mrs Miessan had told police that in her home country: "No one was safe. Everybody's life is precious.
"There were loads of children who were abandoned. I am sorry that I laugh because it's a good job I only came back with one.
"If I had been able to I would have brought in more because there were loads of children who were abandoned ... there were loads of children dead."
She added: "It is true that I lied to the authorities but to me it was to save a child from death, give him an identity, a name, an education. Now he has been taken away from me."
Mrs Miessan said that when she was with the baby, she received a call from her husband asking her to get the baby to speak down the telephone.
Her husband said: "I wanted to hear his voice. I say something stupid to her like: 'Please make him cry so I can hear his voice', so I can use my telephone to record his voice. At least I will always have his voice on my telephone."
Mr Miessan, who was a father for eight weeks before the truth was discovered, added: "we said that we were going to take care of him, give him a very good education as far as we can. I was going to try to save some money for him so that he can go to university. I wanted the best for him."
He added: "For us it's not enough because we want to stay with him not only for one hour a day but I want to stay and look at him. I want to change his nappy. I want to give him his food. I will do anything.
"We didn't do this to harm [the baby], to do something wrong. We done it to help him to get a better life. I just don't know what is going to happen to him now.
"It is true we didn't do it the right way but we didn't want to deceive anyone. For us it was [the baby], it's not like we did it for some kind of return, to claim some benefits."
Puneet Rai, defending Mr Miessan, said: "From the outset he has been open and honest about what had occurred.
"He was at pains to emphasise the joy this child had brought to them."
Christopher Harding, defending Mrs Miessan, said: "Because of the failure of the IVF treatment this was in effect an act of desperation.
"They have now already suffered by the loss of this child."