Zephany kidnapping accused's apology 'a bit too late'

2016-03-08 18:09
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The apology from the woman accused of kidnapping baby Zephany Nurse from Groote Schuur Hospital 19 years ago is "a bit too late," the child’s biological father said outside the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

"It only came a year later," Morne Nurse said as relatives nodded in agreement. "If I had to be in her shoes, I would have apologised from day one already."

Earlier, the 51-year-old accused from Lavender Hill testified: "Celeste, I never took your child. I didn’t take her out of your arms. I am sorry for what the Nurses went through. I didn't... know she was kidnapped."

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

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

The woman's husband and the child shared a close relationship, she previously testified, and her first word was "daddy".

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

Morne Nurse said the accused had showed "no remorse".

"The whole world knows she's lying."

He called the woman's husband a "total idiot" after he testified that he believed his wife had given birth to the daughter they raised.

The accused had suffered a miscarriage three months into her pregnancy and claimed Zephany was hers.

"For a lady to beat around the bush for nine months… any father would have picked it up," he said.

Nurse in February 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 State witness Shireen Piet, who claimed to have seen the suspected abductor on the day Zephany was snatched.

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 own baby daughter on the day Zephany was kidnapped.

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

Sylvia arranged for the baby to be handed to her at the 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.

Read more on:    zephany nurse  |  cape town  |  crime

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