I tried to find Zephany's mother – accused

By admin
29 February 2016

The woman accused of snatching Zephany Nurse as a baby cried in the Western Cape High Court on Monday as she recalled the day police arrived on her doorstep and she saw the girl for the last time.

The woman accused of stealing three-day-old Zephany Nurse from Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997 had been planning to tell her she was “adopted” once she completed her schooling, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Read more: ‘I’m guilty of raising her, yes. I raised her with the help of God but I didn’t take her’ The Lavender Hill woman testified she had tried to find the woman who had given her the baby, so she could tell Zephany who her real mother was. The suspect, who cannot be named as this may lead to Zephany’s current identity being revealed, claimed she was handed the baby at Wynberg station on April 30, 1997 after "fertility treatment" by a woman named Sylvia failed. Questioned by her lawyer Raez Khan, she said she met Sylvia in Tygerberg Hospital shortly after she had a miscarriage.

She claimed she had no prior knowledge that the infant was to be handed to her that day.

“I didn’t know who the baby given to me was, where it was born or who its mother was,” she testified.

Sylvia had earlier told her about a young mother who did not want her baby and she was under the impression that a legal adoption was being arranged.

After the baby was given to her and she was apparently told to go to a Retreat hospital, she phoned Sylvia, who told her the nurse who was to help her was not available.

“I kept the baby because I thought its mother doesn't want it. I would take it until the adoption papers come through. I didn’t know she was kidnapped."

Newborn Zephany and her birth mother Celeste soon after she was born. PHOTO: Supplied Newborn Zephany and her birth mother Celeste soon after she was born. PHOTO: Supplied

The woman, who had suffered a miscarriage four months before the baby was kidnapped, said she did not tell her husband about the adoption because he and Zephany “have such a close bond”.

He did not know she had lost her baby, and believed Zephany to be his own.

“We all became so close. I was about to tell her, but I thought of her education. I would have told them after she finished her matric," the accused said.

Judge John Hlophe asked her if she tried to find out who the biological parents were. She said she had tried to find Sylvia, but never saw her again, despite going to the hospital where they had met.

“I wanted the biological mother's details to tell the child who her mother was one day. I tried. I didn't go out to look for her because I didn’t know where the child was born or where the mother was from."

Read more: ‘It took years for me to love Zephany’

All she knew, she said, was that the child was born on April 30. This was the date that three-day-old Zephany was abducted.

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

She was arrested in February 2015. 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's birthday corresponded with the day Zephany disappeared, they reported it to the police. DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.


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