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Thursday 24 July 2014

Surrogate mother who claimed she miscarried Osama bin Laden's grandchild has been jailed

Woman jailed after faking pregnancies to rake in almost €19,000 from desperate couples

Published 16/06/2014|18:04

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Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Louise Pollard, 28, a surrogate mother who claimed she miscarried the grandchild of Osama bin Laden and has been jailed for three years and four months after faking pregnancies to rake in £15,000 from desperate couples. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 16, 2014. Pollard agreed to carry babies for two couples and pretended to inseminate herself before sharing the joyful news that she was expecting on three occasions. Pollard then began "milking" the couples for thousands of pounds, claiming she required money after suffering a car crash, was behind on her rent and had been forced to move house. See PA story COURTS Surrogate. Photo credit should read: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Louise Pollard, 28, a surrogate mother who claimed she miscarried the grandchild of Osama bin Laden and has been jailed for three years and four months after faking pregnancies to rake in £15,000 from desperate couples. Photo: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire

A surrogate mother from Bristol who claimed she miscarried the grandchild of Osama bin Laden has been jailed for three years and four months after faking pregnancies to rake in £15,000 from desperate couples.

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Louise Pollard, 28, agreed to carry babies for two couples and pretended to inseminate herself before sharing the joyful news that she was expecting on three occasions.

Pollard then began "milking" the couples for thousands of pounds, claiming she required money after suffering a car crash, was behind on her rent and had been forced to move house.

Within days of the couples demanding proof that Pollard was pregnant, the mother-of-two pretended she had suffered a miscarriage - leaving them "heartbroken".

Bristol Crown Court heard Pollard's deception was uncovered when a pregnancy confirmation letter she sent one of her victims was found to be a forgery.

Blonde Pollard later admitted three charges of fraud by false representation relating to the faked pregnancies in March 2012, May 2012 and November 2012.

Judge Graham Cottle jailed Pollard, who sobbed in the dock, for three years and four months for her "brutal and heartless" actions.

"In about 2010, you achieved notoriety when agreeing to act as a surrogate mother for the son of Osama bin Laden," the judge said.

"Be those facts as they may, what this case is about is how you agreed firstly to be a surrogate mother for Mr and Mrs Barnett, a childless couple who had been trying unsuccessfully for many years to have a child."

Judge Cottle said Pollard's actions were "deliberate, sustained, callous acts" that had left both families devastated.

In 2010, Pollard appeared in national newspapers following her arrangement to carry a child for Omar bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, and his wife.

She had already completed two successful surrogacies but miscarried the Bin Laden pregnancy, the court heard.

In late 2011, Josephine and Keith Barnett contacted Pollard, who was registered as a potential surrogate mother, online, prosecutor Rosaleen Collins said.

On January 26 2012, Mr and Mrs Barnett met Pollard and agreed to pay her £20,000 to carry their child.

Pollard insisted she would carry out the artificial insemination herself as she did not want to undergo the procedure at a clinic.

"She did say that it was her ambition to be the most prolific surrogate mother in the country," Ms Collins added.

On February 22, the Barnetts travelled to Pollard's home in Bristol and she disappeared into a bedroom to carry out the artificial insemination before being paid £1,000.

She announced she was pregnant on March 10 and the Barnetts paid a further £2,600. But weeks later, on March 31, Pollard claimed she had suffered a miscarriage.

Mr and Mrs Barnett continued to support her financially, paying £750 for rent and £250 for car maintenance.

In May, she pretended to artificially inseminate herself at their home and announced she was pregnant on May 27, extracting a further £2,700.

Pollard continued with the faked pregnancy, demanding £150 for further car maintenance, £795 for rent and £2,000 for new accommodation in June.

On July 2, Mrs Barnett asked to see a photograph of Pollard's 11-week scan. Two days later, Pollard claimed she had been in a car crash and had lost the baby.

The Barnetts lost contact with Pollard, who ignored their requests for refunds, until February 2013, when she offered them another baby.

In September 2012, Pollard agreed to act as a surrogate for Winston and Debra Kaba, who were unable to conceive after the birth of their first child, for £15,000.

The couple drew up a contract with Pollard and paid her £1,000 after she signed it. She travelled to their home in late October and pretended to inseminate herself.

On November 13, Pollard told the Kabas she was pregnant. The contract stipulated pregnancy had to be confirmed by a letter from her GP, which was sent.

Mr Kaba contacted the surgery to check the letter was genuine. Doctors immediately recognised it as a forgery and arranged a meeting with Pollard on December 21.

Pollard denied any involvement in the forgery but was arrested and interviewed on February 25.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Barnett said she was receiving medication and treatment for depression following the ordeal.

Mr Kaba, in another victim impact statement, said the couple had been desperate to provide a brother or sister for their son.

Representing Pollard, Jason Taylor said his client was "remorseful" for her actions, adding: "She is clearly an intelligent woman. She is somebody who has done something she is thoroughly ashamed of. She will have to live with the consequences for the rest of her life."

Press Association

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