'I never took your child' - Zephany Nurse kidnap accused

2016-03-08 11:40
The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - “Celeste, I never took your child. I didn’t take her out of your arms,” the woman accused of kidnapping baby Zephany Nurse said in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

“I am sorry for what the Nurses went through. I didn’t... know she was kidnapped."

The accused was under cross examination from prosecutor Evadne Kortje, and reiterated that she was not at Groote Schuur Hospital the day the child was kidnapped from Celeste Nurse in April 1997.

She said she only told her husband that she was not the child’s biological mother when he visited her after her arrest.

When asked if she wanted the baby so that her now husband would marry her, she said no as they had been planning to wed since 1994.

The 51-year-old Lavender Hill woman previously told the court that Zephany and her husband shared a close relationship.

Her first word was “daddy”, the accused testified.

She confirmed that she never told the girl she was not her biological mother.

She faces charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act. She has pleaded not guilty.

The woman, who raised Zephany until she was removed from her care last year, said she got the baby from a woman called Sylvia, who she said had been giving her fertility treatment in 1997 after she had miscarried.

Sylvia arranged for the baby to be handed to her at Wynberg station without her prior knowledge, she testified.

She said she was surprised because she had expected to meet to discuss the adoption process. Sylvia claimed she knew of a woman who did not want to keep her baby because the pregnancy was unplanned.

The accused testified the woman said the paperwork would be arranged later and she had signed documents including an “adoption application”.

She claimed to have never heard from Sylvia again.

The accused said that six years later she received a birth certificate by post with the name she chose for the baby.

Morne Nurse, Zephany’s biological father, previously testified he collected evidence for a month after he met the teenager, when his daughter told him a girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her.

After collecting his daughter Cassidy and the then 17-year-old from school in January 2015, he took the two friends to lunch, where she told him her date of birth – April 30, 1997. This was the date his daughter was abducted.

When he told her she did not look like her parents and looked just like him and his daughter, she burst out laughing.

He backed off as he did not want to scare her, but "scrutinised" her Facebook account and printed photos of her as she had grown up.

Nurse said he sent a photo of the girl and her mother to witness Shireen Piet, who claimed to have seen the suspected abductor on the day Zephany was snatched from her sleeping mother.

When he asked Piet if she recognised the woman, Piet said she did.

DNA tests later confirmed the teenager was Zephany.

Piet testified last month that the accused had tried to steal her baby daughter on the day Zephany was kidnapped.

Read more on:    zephany nurse  |  cape town

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