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Heartbreaking true story behind the online baby swap scandal that rocked the world


Karen Price

  • 09:07, 2 Jul 2024

  • UPDATED09:27, 2 JUL 2024

Channel 5's The Baby Scandal That Rocked The World tells the real life story of the internet adoptions of twin babies by two families on different continents

The three mums involved in the baby scandal - Vickie, Tranda and Judith (Image: Amazon Prime Video)

It sounds like a Hollywood movie script - and a sensationalist one at that - but the story of the newborn twins who ended up being adopted by two families from different continents actually happened in real life.

And now the so-called 'cash for babies' case, involving British couple Judith and Alan Kilshaw and Californian couple Richard and Vickie Allen and saw the intervention of the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is being retold in a Channel 5 documentary.

The Baby Scandal That Rocked The World revisits the case through the women’s eyes - the birth mother and the two adoptive mums. Their stories were previously told in an Amazon Prime Video documentary.

It was the late 1990s when single mother Tranda put her newborn twins, Belinda and Kimberley, up for adoption via an online agency - the internet was unregulated at this time. They were sent to Vickie and Richard in California, who it was revealed paid £4,000 for the girls, but Tranda wasn’t happy with the visiting arrangements and took them back.

Judith and Alan Kilshaw with Belinda and Kimberly ( Image:Daily Mirror)

The Kilshaws then reportedly paid £8,200 for the babies and took them to Wales, where they lived in Flintshire. Vickie and Richard weren’t happy about that and the messy tussles over the babies continued for years.

Judith and Alan became notorious when the Sun published the story about them buying the twins, who were then six months old. Prime Minister Tony Blair got involved promising to stop the trading of children for adoption and Home Secretary Jack Straw expressed his disgust.

The case was taken to the High Court which ruled that the twins would remain in emergency foster care and the Kilshaws were told not to speak publicly about the case.

A judge in the state of Missouri awarded custody of the twins to their natural father, Aaron Wecker. The order had no immediate effect because the twins remained in the care of Flintshire social services.

The Kilshaws went on The Oprah Winfrey Show in America and came face-to-face with the Allens. They served the Welsh couple with a writ that summoned them to appear before a court in Arkansas. The twins' natural mother Tranda Wecker began an attempt to get the babies back. The UK high court later decided that the twins should be returned to America.

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