A LECTURER who says his businesswoman wife deceived him into thinking he was the father of the son she gave birth to following fertility treatment wept yesterday as his lawyer told a judge that a “more cruel” deceit was hard to imagine.
The man claimed that without his knowledge the child had been created with the use of sperm provided by a former boyfriend, and said he wanted damages of more than £100,000. He said she dropped the “bombshell” when the child, now nine, was five.
Judge Deborah Taylor has analysed the case during a hearing at the Central London County Court and is due to deliver her ruling on Friday.
The woman – who at one stage was earning more than £180,000 a year – says there is “no merit” in her ex-husband’s damages claim. She said she always thought the man knew that he was “not necessarily” the little boy’s father.
Judge Taylor has been told that the case is thought to be the first of its kind. The judge said nothing could be published which would reveal the identity of the boy.
She said the man and woman should be referred to as “X” and “Y”. The judge has been told that the man was in his sixties, the woman was in her fifties.
She has heard that the man and woman lived in different parts of the London area. The man also had family links to Bolton, Lancashire. Judge Taylor has heard that the couple married in 2002.
In 2004 they travelled to a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, for IVF treatment and the man gave a sample of his sperm.
A few months later the woman returned to the clinic without the man and travelled instead with a former boyfriend.
Barrister Thomas Brudenell, who represented the man, said during the later visit the woman was impregnated with her former boyfriend’s sperm.
He said the man did not know at the time, although it was “now quite clear what had happened”.
Mr Brudenell said the little boy was born in late 2005 and when he was around six months old the couple separated. Divorce proceedings began and their divorce was finalised in 2008.
He said the man looked after the child when the woman was working and paid more than £80,000 in maintenance over the following few years.
In 2011 a dispute arose over the amount of contact he was having with the youngster – and the woman then told him that he was not the “biological father”.
Shortly afterwards that was confirmed when he took a DNA test. “For almost six years my client was misled as to the true parentage of this child,” said Mr Brudenell.
The man wept as Mr Brudenell said he had become estranged from the youngster.
“He sees the child for a moment if he is lucky – on birthdays and at Christmases when he delivers presents to the mother’s home,” Mr Brudenell told Judge Taylor. “His estrangement is complete.”
The woman, who represented herself at the hearing, also wept.
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