'It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t buy a baby in South Africa'

By Marelize Potgieter
10 March 2016

The judge showed no mercy to the woman when he gave his verdict in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning.

A sobbing Celeste Nurse had to be led from the court after Judge John Hlope had announced that he’d found the woman who stole Zephany Nurse guilty of the crime.

“Yes! Yes!” was heard from the gallery where supporters of the Nurse family were sitting.

Read more: ‘I had to listen to her lies for days’: Zephany judge

“There were no adoption papers and the circumstances you described where the baby was handed to you were suspicious. It’s clear from the DNA evidence that you’re not the biological mother.  The biological parents did not give you permission to take the child.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t buy a baby in South Africa,” the judge said.

He found her guilty of all three charges, abduction, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act.

The woman alleged that she had been approached by a woman called Sylvia at Tygerberg Hospital who said she’d help her become pregnant. The woman paid Sylvia R3 000 for fertility treatments. After the treatments hadn’t worked Sylvia called her one day and asked her to meet her at the Wynberg railway station. There another woman handed her a baby. She was under the impression it was an adoption.

Read more: ‘I’m guilty of raising her, yes. I raised her with the help of God but I didn’t take her’: Zephany’s alleged abductor

When the guilty woman was taken away by the police her husband stood up at the back of the court to take her handbag from her.

She was composed throughout and occasionally rubbed her chin.

Spectators adjourning from the gallery were boisterous. Morne and Celeste Nurse were visibly emotional but wouldn’t comment outside the court.

Chanté Booysen, a cousin of Morne, said the Nurse family was happy with the verdict. “God knew why we had to wait for this day.  Yes, there was a lot of hurt and there was a lot of sadness but God has seen us through the past 20 years.”

Outside the court Eric Ntabazalila, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said, “We’re satisfied with the ruling.

"The judge mentioned something about 10 years but we will be asking for an even longer sentence.”

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