I'll only forgive her if she tells truth – Zephany's biological dad

Morne Nurse outside the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Morne Nurse outside the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Cape Town - The biological father of Zephany Nurse has said he will never forgive the woman who kidnapped his firstborn from her sleeping mother’s arms, until she tells the truth.

"You have killed us in more than one way," Morne Nurse told the kidnapper while testifying in sentencing proceedings in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

"You will never know what we have been through. Come clean and put your love for Zephany to the test. Tell us what you did, then the forgiveness will come."

The kidnapper, who raised the teen for 18 years, has maintained that she did not kidnap the then 3-day-old infant from Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997.

She said she got the baby from a woman called Sylvia, who had been giving her fertility treatment in 1997 after she had miscarried.

Sylvia apparently arranged for the baby to be handed to her at the Wynberg train station, without her prior knowledge, she claimed.

But Judge John Hlophe in March dismissed her assertions as lies when he convicted her of kidnapping, fraud, and contravening the Children’s Act.

'Our relationship died'

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

DNA tests confirmed the teenager was Zephany.

An emotional Morne told the court he did not have a relationship with his daughter.

He claimed that their bond was broken after the woman was released on bail following her arrest last year.

"My relationship with my daughter went dormant – completely cold," he said.

"After the accused got bail everything changed. I felt like my daughter was indoctrinated to a degree. Our relationship died after [the kidnapper] came out. I would love to have one with her, but unfortunately that is just not happening."

When the family was reconciled with their long-lost daughter, their relationship was "brilliant", Morne told the court.

'She would choose them'

He claimed that, despite the woman’s bail conditions including that she should not have contact with Zephany, the woman had lived in the same house as her husband.

Zephany currently lives with the man who raised her and the two share a close bond.

"[The State gave Zephany] the option of going back. She wouldn’t choose us because she doesn’t know us. She would choose them."

Morne said he didn’t have a problem with the relationship Zephany had with the man she believed to be her father for 18 years.

"[He] is the only person she knew [as her father] all her life. I can do nothing to change that."

He declined to answer if he felt his biological daughter had been raised well.

The matter resumes on Thursday.

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