A housing support worker, who smuggled a baby from Nigeria in a "callous" bid to get a free flat, was jailed for 26 months in the UK today.
Peace Sandberg, 40, branded "manipulative and a stranger to the truth" by the judge, is believed by police to have paid £150 for the three-month-old boy in her native country.
She then used a forged birth certificate to get a visa for him from the British High Commission there.
Within hours of landing at Heathrow, the fraudster, a former Kensington Housing Trust support worker who had been living in a hostel, was at Ealing Council's homeless persons unit, cradling the child in her arms.
She claimed she had returned to Africa in December 2006 to give birth and now needed a flat for herself and her "son".
But London's Isleworth Crown Court heard Sandberg was immediately recognised by housing officer Lizette Reddy.
And she clearly remembered Sandberg - who holds joint Nigerian and Swedish nationality - not being pregnant when she saw her two months earlier.
But Sandberg denied any wrongdoing, claiming she had adopted her cousin's orphaned son to give him a better life in Britain.
She also insisted she took the £150 to Nigeria simply to help care for him while she was out there.
However, those trying the case took just 40 minutes to unanimously decide she was lying and convict her of one count of child trafficking.
To begin with she remained impassive as Judge Sam Kathkuda told her it was clear she had lied repeatedly during the "pre-planned and pre-meditated" operation to breach Britain's immigration laws.
The evidence also showed she had played on the sympathy of British High Commission staff in Nigeria by turning up early for her appointment, appearing "hysterical" and thereby avoiding the usual visa application interview.
"The question the prosecution counsel put to the jury was whether they were sure you had lied in order to being that child into the country.
"They decided you were not telling the truth to anybody about that child, and that you deliberately and fraudulently trafficked this child into the country in effect knowing you were going to use that child for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining benefit of housing."
He continued: "In my judgment, based on what I have heard during the trial and all the reports before me...you are a person who is manipulative and a stranger to the truth."
At this point Sandberg burst into tears, insisting: "I am not a liar. I have never told a lie in my life...I have done nothing wrong."
After explaining immediate imprisonment was inevitable, the judge added: "Your deportation I leave to the Home Office."
Outside court Detective Inspector Gordon Valentine, of the joint police and immigration service Paladin team, which investigates child trafficking and exploitation, welcomed the sentence.
"This is the first case I am aware of where a child has been smuggled into Britain to get a free home."
He said although the matter had not been tested in court there was clear "circumstantial evidence" to suggest she paid money for the child.
"It is quite shocking what she did. She took this child from its home environment and brought it here with the sole intention of exploiting him for benefits."
"It shows her callousness in exploiting an innocent child purely for her own benefit without considering the child's future in any way whatsoever.
"It now seems that child is going to grow up knowing nothing of his identity, where he has come from or even who his real parents are."
His colleague Detective Superintendent Sue Knight, said: "As far as we know she has not provided any information or assistance to help identify that child and has left him with a difficult predicament when he grows up."
DI Valentine added that although Sandberg's case was not the first involving children being brought into Britain illegally, babies only featured in a "minority" of them.
"We have no reason to believe it is a widespread problem," said the officer.
Councillor Ian Green, Ealing Council's portfolio holder for housing, said: "It's disgusting that this woman was trying to bring a baby into the country illegally to try to cheat a priority place on the housing register.
"It's horrifying to think that someone would try to use an innocent child in that way.
"It was only because one of our eagle-eyed housing officers had concerns about the woman that the police were alerted and were able to investigate.
"I hope this acts as a strong deterrent to other people who might be tempted to try to cheat the system."
Sandberg's five-day trial heard that in May, 2006, she had been renting a private property in Twyford Avenue, Acton, when a combination of rent arrears and disputes with neighbours forced her to leave.
She contacted the local council for help only for them to decided she had made herself "intentionally homeless".
Officials explained, however, they could provide temporary accommodation, but only because she had a 12-year-old daughter.
Sometime later police and social services learnt the young girl had returned to her father in Sweden, and told Sandberg she faced eviction.
Shortly afterwards the defendant bought return tickets to Nigeria for herself and the child, returning weeks later with the little boy.
Jurors were not given a full account of what police believe happened once she arrived, and were told only she collected the baby.
Recalling Sandberg's visit to council offices, Ms Reddy said: "She told me the baby was hers but I said 'No' because I had not seen her pregnant when I last saw her on November 1.
"I asked her three times 'Whose baby is this?' and she said 'It's mine'. I understood she had come straight to the council offices from the airport."
After further questioning, Sandberg admitted the child was not hers, but then insisted it was her cousin's baby and she had died.
"She said she decided to send some money for the child and she went over because she wanted to care of the child. One minute she tells me something, the next minute she tells me something else," the witness added.
Sandberg was arrested and police later found a forged birth certificate claiming she was the mother and her estranged husband, Kenneth, the father.
Chris Beddoe, of the Ecpat UK pressure group, which campaigns for tougher laws against child traffickers, said: "We were shocked at how callous Miss Sandberg was, carefully planning the whole thing and using an innocent child for her own ends.
"We are seeing increasing evidence that children are being trafficked into Britain for benefit fraud.
"They arrive from all over the world and our concern is what happens when they have served their purpose.
"Mrs Sandberg was prosecuted as an offender under immigration law and too many cases like this go unnoticed for that reason. "It is about time the government realised we need a trafficking law for child exploitation...which would make individuals like her easier to prosecute," she added.
This is just one example of how children are being bought and sold for very devious purposes. Victoria Climbie (The little girl who was murdered by her 'aunt' and her boyfriend) had been used by her 'aunt' to collect handouts in France and then here in Britain. There is a certain 'church' operating in Britain, which gives 'acquired' babies' to childless couples and then calls them miracle children! It is to be hoped that if the baby, in this reported case, can't be reunited with his natural parents that he will be found loving adoptive parents.- Tessa Boo, London
Yes, it's terrible that she has attempted to defraud the system but my main worries are for the baby. If many people are devious and immoral enough to do this scam for their own gain, what becomes of the children? Do they care for these poor innocent babies properly? So many stories of children being treated so badly upsets me.- Jan, London