Zephany Nurse kidnap accused to return to court

2016-02-24 05:45
Zephany just after she was born. (Netwerk24)

Zephany just after she was born. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – The woman accused of snatching baby Zephany Nurse from the Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997 is expected back at the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

The woman, who may not be named to protect the identity of the child, claimed she did not steal the baby, and neither was she at the hospital on the day Nurse was reportedly stolen.

She claimed she was given the child by a stranger at the Wynberg train station after she had held discussions with a nurse by the name of Sylvia at the hospital. Sylvia had promised to help the woman adopt a baby as she said she knew of women who did not want to keep their babies due to unplanned pregnancies.

In her plea explanation, the woman said she paid Sylvia to assist her with her infertility problem after she miscarried in 1996. When this failed, the woman gave her a baby instead.

The woman was told the adoption would cost R3 000.

She did not tell her boyfriend, who she later married, that she had miscarried.

A baby wrapped in a blanket

"In April 1997, I received a call from [Sylivia]. She advised me a young girl was not interested in keeping her baby and wanted to give the baby up for adoption. I asked whether I should be present when the child was born. She confirmed that I would be present."

Another phone call later, the woman apparently told the accused to meet her at Wynberg train station at the ticket office. Sylvia, however, did not arrive.

"I was standing on my own when I was approached by an unknown female who asked me if I was waiting for Sylvia. I confirmed and she showed me a baby who was wrapped in a blanket."

The baby was apparently from Sylvia.

The woman said she was surprised because she had expected to discuss the adoption process with Sylvia first but she was told to go to Retreat Day Hospital and call Sylvia when she got there.

"I decided to take the baby and when I arrived [there], I called Sylvia who informed me that the nurse I was to meet was not available. I asked her why she had not informed me that I was going to be given a baby. She told me the baby’s mother is the young girl she previously told me about who wanted to give up her child for adoption."

Something was wrong

The accused said she asked when she could meet the parents and was told they would "meet again and deal with that issue".

"I was told the baby was mine and the documentation will be sorted out later. [But] I had a bad feeling – something was wrong."

As she had not told her family about her miscarriage, she "decided [to] tell them it was my baby".

Two weeks after she received the baby, she said she phoned Sylvia to ask when she would meet the baby’s mother as well as receive the baby’s paperwork.

When they met in Cape Town, the accused said Sylvia arrived alone. She “cannot recall” what Sylvia said about where the mother was.

“She then took out forms from her bag. She told me she will register the baby on my name and requested me to sign certain forms.”

Among these, she said, was the “adoption application”.

As she wanted the baby registered in her then-boyfriend’s name, his signature was also required, the accused said.

Registered in boyfriend's name

A man apparently arrived at their home one evening with the documents her husband needed to sign. “[My then-boyfriend] asked me what [it was] and I informed him it was documentation to register Zephany on his surname,” she said.

“I never heard from Sylvia again,” the woman said, adding that she unsure whether she lost the woman’s number or if she attempted to contact her without reply.

She said she even went back to Tygerberg Hospital to look for Sylvia to ask for the adoption documents and the birth certificate.

In 2003 – six years later – the accused said she received post containing a birth certificate.

Seventeen years later it was discovered that the baby was Zephany Nurse, who was abducted while her mother slept, three days after giving birth.

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  |  crime  |  abductions

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