A Cape Town woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse from her cot in a maternity ward at South Africa’s famous Groote Schuur Hospital 19 years ago has been jailed for 10 years.
The woman, who claimed she had bought the baby from another woman, had been found guilty of kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections of the Children’s Act .
South Africa’s Judge President John Hlophe says the crime was premeditated and too serious not to warrant a jail sentence.
The defence asked the court for leniency, arguing that the 52-year-old Lavender Hill seamstress was a first time offender in bad health.
The woman, who may not be named to avoid divulging the new identity of the abductee, snatched Zephany Nurse from her mother’s hospital bedside.
The baby had been born via caesarean section to Morne and Celeste Nurse.
Both testified in aggravation of sentence, saying their relationship with their daughter, raised by the accused, was non existent.
The parents’ 17-year search for their missing daughter finally ended when their younger biological daughter started high school at the same school as Zephany.
Classmates remarked on the sisters’ striking resemblance.
Morne Nurse contacted police and DNA tests revealed Zephany was his daughter.