Zephany Nurse's birth mother breaks down in court

By admin
23 February 2016

The birth mother of baby Zephany Nurse broke down in tears when she recalled the details of her daughter's kidnapping from Groote Schuur Hospital 19 years ago.

Celeste Nurse (36) told Western Cape High Court Judge John Hlope that she had been on medication after an emergency Caesarian section was performed on April 28 1997 to deliver the baby she would only know for three days.

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

"I was 18. It was my first pregnancy," she said.

Three days later, still in a "drugged" state, she said she heard Zephany crying. When she woke up she saw a woman sitting at the door, Celeste recalled.

Her bed and the baby's cot were both right next to the entrance.

"She told me the child was crying and asked if she could pick her up," she said.

The woman had been wearing an Old Mutual top and a maroon pants, similar to the uniform of the nursing staff, she testified.

Celeste Nurse, now 36, spoke to YOU in June last year. PHOTO: Noncendo Mathibela Celeste Nurse when she spoke to YOU in June last year. PHOTO: Noncendo Mathibela

Celeste said she could not recall what happened thereafter.

"I woke up when the sister came in and asked me: 'Mommy, where is your baby?'."

Then then 18-year-old, with a drip still in her arm, searched for the baby on every floor of the hospital.

"But she was nowhere to be found. Gone."

Read more: ‘Thank you for raising our daughter’: Zephany’s parents forgive

'It's a sad and a happy story'

The police were then called and another mother, who had seen a woman in the ward earlier, helped to give a description of the stranger.

In an interview last year, Celeste told YOU finding Zephany was bittersweet.

"It's a sad and a happy story," she said. “It’s better since we found her but, to be honest, there’s sometimes more sadness than happiness.”

Her first-born has chosen to return to the home where she was raised and live with the man she believed was her father. She visits Celeste and her siblings only on weekends.

“We know she doesn’t know us,” Celeste says softly. “But it’s hard to see your child with someone else. It’s difficult that she prefers that person. When we leave her there it’s almost like giving her up for adoption. But I don’t have a choice. I must do it.

“That’s where she grew up and feels comfortable. She has her own room. Any child would feel comfortable in her mother’s house.”

The accused pleads not guilty

A 51-year-old woman, accused of snatching the three-day-old baby from Groote Schuur Hospital, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The accused is facing charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children's Act.

The accused, who may not be named as it could lead to the teenager being identified, was arrested in February last year.

The matter came to light when Zephany'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.


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