LONDON: The rise and fall of a sex queen

Published on 17/09/2008

By Amos Kareithi

It is impossible to make a million, legally or illegally, and maintain it.

This wisdom, according to Jeffrey Archer, author of “Not a Penny More Not a Penny Less,” dawned on a Kenyan born sex queen, Ann Wambui O’Brien.

Ann Wambui O’Brien who was convicted by a London court for charges related to running brothels in UK. PHOTO: FILE


Wambui metamorphosed from a simple poverty ravaged rural girl into a glamour queen.

Her quest for a better life started in Nakuru in 1995 after she dissolved her second-hand clothes business and bought a one-way ticket to United Kingdom.

It had taken her only two years after graduating from Menengai High School to realise her ticket to riches was not in operating this business.

Wambui’s intention was to study computer and rescue her mother, Veronica Wangari Muya and her three children, from the jaws of poverty.

Wambui’s marriage

In UK, Wambui conquered the heart of an Irishman, Patrick O’Brien, who married her.

Armed with a new name and a resident visa, Wambui migrated from Ireland to London.

It was while she was in London that Wambui, then known as Ann O’Brien, ventured into prostitution, peddling her flesh and captivated upmarket high spenders.

Wambui earned sarcastic accolades from British Broadcasting Corporation thus: “In any other industry Ann O’Brien would have probably won a businesswoman of the year award.”

She became so rich that she could afford a down payment of about Sh70 million for her house in Mayfair, London.

meteoric rise

The rise of the “sex queen”, as the British press referred to her, from a struggling housewife to an overnight millionaire, was meteoric.

She was credited with establishing an enormously successful high-class brothel in central London that took about eight years to establish.

After her marriage, Wambui abandoned her name Ann, opting for Nancy, which she was to use in one of her three prostitution companies.

When not managing her business by driving around London in a sports car, she supervised her kingdom from the top floor of her six-bedroom house in Upper Berkeley Street.

So successful was her first brothel that she decided to set up a second one in Gloucester Place, Marylebone. To give her business a face of legitimacy, she opened a salon at Kilburn.

” My Wambui is a hardworking, God fearing and morally upright young woman. She went after her ambitions in life with zeal. She was always good at marketing,” her distraught mother was quoted saying in 2005.

On June 22, 2005, Judge John Price of Southwark Crown Court brought her illustrious career to a grinding stop.

“You lied through out that trial and the jury found you guilty. There were many girls involved and a great deal of money was made. You did well out of it. The prosecution intends to take that away from you,” the judge ruled.

Despite the harsh judgement, Price absolved O’Brien from accusations by the press that she had trafficked her call girls, ruling that she only engaged adults.

Upon this verdict, which O’Brien had listened to in disbelief, she muttered that she wanted to die.

family’s defence

Her family was in self-denial as they protested her innocence saying she got rich by prudent investment in her salon. She had bought her mother a matatu christened the Dream Girl.

Ironically, Dream Girl is one of the names she had given to her escort services. The others went in the Names of Marble Arch Girls’ Agency and Nancy’s Escort Visiting and Massage Services.

Although O’Brien was devastated when all her estate totalling to about Sh168 million, stashed in 27 bank accounts and her Sh175 million brothel were frozen, she did not contest. Former Kabete MP, Paul Muite, who is a lawyer, disagrees with the verdict saying the court was very harsh on her.

“I do not support prostitution but I am disturbed even now by this judgement. They were harsh on her because she was a woman and an African,” he asserts.

“O’Brien’s customers were serving members of the House of Common. Why was none of them arrested or their property seized. This was application of double standards,” Muite says.

distributing wealth

The seized money was distributed between various government departments chief among them the prosecution which had spent Sh557,000 nailing her as the prosecutor, Jonathan Higgings explained.

Her defence had also cost her a tidy sum of Sh49 million.

She was busted after a Queen’s guitarist, Sir Ian Rompton lodged complaints about unbecoming behaviour of some drunken girls who caused a racket at night.


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