British national, Keith Morris, who has been convicted in the UK of nine child abuse offences committed in Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESYBritish national, Keith Morris, who has been convicted in the UK of nine child abuse offences committed in Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY
By NAIROBI NEWS REPORTER

A British national who befriended vulnerable families in Kenya, and then abused their children, has been convicted of nine child abuse offences in the UK.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) worked in partnership with the Kenyan National Police to investigate 72-year-old Keith Morris, after another British national staying in Kenya reported his inappropriate behaviour with children.

Through their joint investigations, they exposed the fact that Morris had been visiting a rural village in Kilifi County, where under a pretext of supporting local families with household goods, clothing and education, he had preyed on vulnerable local children.

During a three week trial in Leeds Crown Court in the UK, young victims gave evidence via live video link from Mombasa.

One of the victims described how Mr Morris, known to her as ‘Mozzy’, had done “bad things” to her when they were staying at a hotel.

He then told her she would be in trouble if she told anyone about it.

TRUSTED FIGURE

The jury also heard how Mr Morris had attempted to influence Kenyan associates into proving his innocence, and tried to pressurise witnesses in to not giving evidence.

Joint working between the British and Kenyan authorities exposed this plan, and as a result, Mr Morris was also charged with and convicted of two charges related to manipulating the course of justice.

Graham Ellis, operations manager from the UK’s National Crime Agency, said: “Keith Morris spent many years integrating himself into the local community in Kenya, making him a trusted figure to people that lived there. He then abused this trust in the worst possible way.”

“Not only did he abuse and defile vulnerable children but he attempted to manipulate and bribe them into helping him prove his innocence. Thankfully, those attempts failed and due to his victims’ courage Morris now faces significant jail time for his horrific crimes,” he added.

TRACKED DOWN

“Travelling sex offenders like Morris think that by conducting their abuse elsewhere in the world, they won’t get caught. However, borders are not a barrier. We would like to thank the Kenyan Child Protection Unit for their excellent help and contribution to this case; together we have sent a clear signal that there is no resting place for those abusing children in Kenya – they will be tracked down.”

The NCA, and the crown prosecution service (CPS), worked with the Kenyan Authorities to bring Mr Morris to justice.

Under the Mutual Legal Assistance Process, the UK secured the permission of Kenya’s Attorney General for NCA investigators to travel to Kenya to conduct their investigations and permission for a number of witnesses, including one of the victims, to give evidence by video link from Mombasa.

This innovative use of technology helped secure Mr Morris’ conviction.

Mr Morris was found guilty of four counts of raping a child under 16, three counts of sexual assault by penetration of a child under 16, two sexual assault of a child under 16 and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

He is due to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on July 17, 2018.

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