Zephany Nurse accused tried to abduct another baby, court hears

2016-02-24 14:30
Zephany Nurse just after she was born. (Netwerk24)

Zephany Nurse just after she was born. (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The woman accused of snatching Zephany Nurse as a baby, tried to abduct another baby girl from the same hospital on the same day in 1997, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

A witness, Shireen Piet, testified on Wednesday that the alleged baby snatcher tried to take her infant almost 19 years ago. She said the accused in court was that woman.

The woman, who cannot be named as it may lead to the teenager being identified, is on trial on charges of kidnapping, fraud, and contravening the Children’s Act. She has pleaded not guilty.

Piet said a woman who appeared heavily pregnant came to sit with her in her ward several times after she gave birth at Groote Schuur Hospital on April 28, 1997.

On the day of Zephany’s kidnapping three days later, Piet said she asked the woman to lend her some money to make a call from the nearby public phone booth.

The woman, who Piet said appeared heavily pregnant, went to her room downstairs and returned with a handful of money. Piet took only enough for the call and went to the booth, leaving the woman in her room, but keeping an eye on the ward.

‘Give me the baby’

She hung up when she saw the woman with her baby, outside the ward, near the lift and stairs.

“I said: ‘Give me my baby. Give me the child’.”

Piet said the woman claimed the baby girl had been crying. 

“When I took the baby, I looked at her. She didn’t appear to have cried.”

Piet said she put her baby back in her cot and sat on the bed. The woman stayed with her.

They later heard a racket from the next ward and went to investigate. An incubator was being wheeled in. 

“I watched and everyone could see me, but she looked scared someone would see her,” Piet testified.

“I left her there, standing against a wall in the ward.”

Child ‘gone’

Piet said she never saw the woman again after that.

“A while later, I heard a man crying very loudly. I walked in the direction and found a man sitting around the corner at the lifts in a foetal position. I asked what was wrong. He said his child was gone.”

Piet said she told the man, Nurse’s biological father Morne, about the woman who “tried to steal my child”.

“I wondered if it could be that woman who took his child,” she said.

After giving police a description of the woman who had been visiting her, Piet said she did not think the woman would hurt the baby.

Asked why, Piet replied that the woman had asked her what formula the hospital put babies on.

The woman had given her no information about herself.

‘Older and fatter’

Piet told the court that when Morne contacted her last year and asked her to look at a photo of two people, she recognised the woman as the person who had tried to take her baby.

“She was the woman who sat with me in hospital. She just got older and fatter.”

Having identified the woman during an ID parade last year, she said she remembered her chin, which reminded her of her sister-in-law.

“There was also something about her face that made me recognise her.”

The woman was arrested in February 2015, after the matter came to light when the girl's biological sister, who is four years younger, told her parents that a matric girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.

When the parents discovered the girl had the same birthday as their missing child, they reported it to police. DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.

Read more on:    zephany nurse  |  cape town  |  abductions

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