Paedophile Keith Morris, 72, deliberately chose the two weakest girls in the remote African village while he was on holiday between 2016 and 2017. He was jailed for 18 years at Leeds Crown Court
A British paedophile who raped and sexually abused poor children in Kenya after exploiting his friendship with their families has been jailed for more than 18 years.
Keith Morris, 72, deliberately chose the two weakest girls in the remote African village while he was on holiday between 2016 and 2017.
He raped one ‘on more than 20 occasions’, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Known to his victims at ‘Mozzy’, Morris befriended their families over the course of 20 years, giving them money and gifts on a number of occasions.
He even used his granddaughter to get close to the girls, encouraging her to play with them.
Morris, from Hull, also financially sponsored several of the families and paid for their children’s education.
He ‘integrated’ himself within the village in the Kilifi county of Kenya and earned the respect of the elders through his help building houses, funding education and facilitating travel to a local clinic for medical attention, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Judge Mairs said: ‘You were a benefactor to the residents, especially the children.
‘There is no doubt that you used your elevated and financially powerful position to gain access to the girls.’
The abuse took place during a period between January 2016 and February 2017. Morris denied 12 charges including rape and sexual assault.
But he was convicted of four counts of rape, four counts of assault by penetration, two counts of sexual assault and two counts of perverting the course of justice by the jury on May 22.
The retired locksmith from East Yorkshire, travelled to Kenya on holiday on multiple occasions with his wife and later his granddaughter.
He took groups of children out of the village for day trips, buying them sweets, make-up, meals out and often inviting them to stay in his hotel rooms.
He ‘integrated’ himself within the village in the Kilifi county of Kenya and earned the respect of the elders through his help building houses, funding education and facilitating travel to a local clinic for medical attention, Leeds Crown Court heard
Prosecutor Rupert Doswell said it was during these trips Morris abused the children – who were aged just 13 and 14 when they gave their statements to police – between 2016 and 2017.
Morris referred to the victim he raped more than 20 time as ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’, the court was told.
Mr Doswell said Morris had ‘integrated’ himself within the village and had ‘the respect of the elders’.
‘It was that reliance that the defendant exploited to facilitate his offending,’ he said.
Morris even applied for guardianship of one of the victims, but the authorities refused.
But he used a draft of the document when challenged by staff at hotels to which he took the children.
Known to his victims at ‘Mozzy’, Morris befriended their families over the course of 20 years, giving them money and gifts on a number of occasions
An investigation was launched after a British hotel guest raised concerns about Morris’ behaviour towards one of the young girls to one of his friends – who was a member of the police.
An ‘international investigation’ was launched and Morris was stopped in February 2017 as he returned to the UK at Humberside airport.
During a search of his home, officers found a dictaphone containing audio recordings of phone conversations in which he had asked his victims ‘to sign retraction statements stating the sexual abuse had not occurred’.
He also transferred money to associates in Kenya in exchange for help to prove his innocence, the court heard, which led to him being charged with perverting the course of justice.
One of the victims told police she believed her family ‘would starve’ if Morris was prosecuted.
Mr Doswell told the court: ‘While he had always transferred money [to Kenya], payments increased exponentially [after his arrest]’.
In mitigation, Caroline Wigan told the court Morris had already suffered intimidation in prison and custody would be very difficult for his age.
Ms Wigan told the court he had no previous convictions and does not accept the jury’s decision.
Sentencing Morris, Judge Mairs said he had used his ‘veneer of respectability’ to abuse the girls for his ‘own sexual pleasure’.
He said: ‘The sex offences occurred in Kenya. You stayed at a number of tourist hotels [near the village].
‘The evidence in the trial showed the abject poverty of its residents. Life is brutal, hard and often short.
‘You befriended the village. For many years you did good work. There is no doubt you used your elevated position to gain access to the young girls.
‘You groomed them.’
During a search of his home, officers found a dictaphone containing audio recordings of phone conversations in which he had asked his victims ‘to sign retraction statements stating the sexual abuse had not occurred’
The judge told how one of the victims had a cleft lip and speech impediment.
He added: ‘You chose the weakest of the girls and you preyed upon them.
‘You preyed upon the most vulnerable to the most vulnerable.’
The judge told the court Morris had even taken his own granddaughter on trips to Kenya to entice the girls to play with her.
He told Morris: ‘You used your own granddaughter to achieve access with the girls.’
The judge told the court one girl’s virginity had been taken by Morris and she told police in a statement: ‘He had sex with me and broke my virginity.
‘It was really painful and I cried.’
Sentencing Morris to 18 years and 6 months imprisonment, the judge said: ‘You were clearly in a position of trust and you abused that.
‘I have reached a global figure to represent the global offending.’
Morris was made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
He sat motionless in the dock dressed in a suit throughout the proceedings.
Judge Mairs commended the officers in the case who assisted the ‘international investigation’.