A Hull man who befriended and helped vulnerable families in rural Kenya to gain access to their children has been convicted of 9 child abuse offences.
The National Crime Agency began investigating Keith Morris, a 72-year-old locksmith, in February 2017 after another British national staying in Kenya reported his inappropriate behaviour with children.
Enquiries by the NCA and Kenyan National Police identified that in the many years Morris had been visiting a rural village in Kilifi County, Kenya, he frequently took local children away for trips, where he would buy them gifts and stay with them in hotel rooms.
It was on these trips taken between January 2016 and February 2017 when Morris would conduct his abuse.
One of his young victims gave evidence via video link during the trial at Leeds Crown Court and described how 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.
Morris had been visiting the village for a number of years with his family and had supported locals by providing household goods and clothing, as well as paying for medical treatment and education.
After he was arrested by NCA officers and released on bail in February 2017, Morris transferred money to associates in Kenya in exchange for helping him to prove his innocence.
In addition, officers conducting a further search of his home in August 2017 seized a Dictaphone containing audio recordings of phone conversations made after his arrest. In these recordings, he asks his victims to sign retraction statements stating the sexual abuse had not occurred.
As a result, Morris was also charged with and convicted of two counts of intending to pervert the course of justice.
He is due to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on 17 July 2018.
Graham Ellis, NCA operations manager, 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 sexually abuse and rape 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.
“Travelling sex offenders like Morris think that by conducting their abuse in a remote part of the world, they won’t get caught. However borders are not a barrier and the NCA works closely with international partners to ensure Britons committing offences abroad are prosecuted in the UK.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who may have information on Morris’s offending to contact the NCA on 01925 663355. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com.”