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South African Woman's Kidnapping Sentence Comes After Baby Grown Up

Image: South African Woman's Kidnapping Sentence Comes After Baby Grown Up

The biological father of Zephany Nurse (unseen) Morne Nurse (C) speaks to the medias outside the Cape Town High court, after attending the sentencing proceeding where the woman (unseen) who has been convicted of kidnapping Zephany as a newborn baby, was sentenced to an effective 10 years in prison, on August 15, 2016, in Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 09:24 AM

A South African woman convicted of kidnapping a baby from a hospital nearly two decades ago was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday.

Zephany Nurse was three days old when she was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital by a 52-year-old Cape Town woman in 1997. She was raised in the same town, a short distance from her biological parents Celeste and Morne Nurse, National Public Radio reported.

Some became suspicious when people realized that Zephany Nurse bared a striking resemblance to another girl at her school. A DNA test confirmed in 2015 that they were sisters, BBC News reported. That led to the arrest of the woman who Zephany Nurse had long believed was her mother.

"Delivering his ruling, Judge [John] Hlope criticized the woman for lying to the court during the trial," wrote Pumza Fihlani, of BBC News, South Africa. "He dismissed as 'a fairytale' her claim that the baby girl had been handed to her by another woman at a railway station.

"The soft-spoken seamstress raised Zephany as her own, just a few kilometers from the home of her biological parents," Fihlani reported for BBC News.

The woman, who remained unidentified, was found guilty in March of kidnapping, fraud, and contravening the Children's Act, reported The Guardian. She claimed she had not been at the hospital the day Zephany Nurse was kidnapped, noted the publication.

The woman charged that she had been deceived by a woman named Sylvia when she was handed the baby at a busy railway station.

"The Lord knows why He placed her in my arms … I thank Him for the 17 years and 10 months I had with her," the woman told journalists about Zephany Nurse. "She brought me so much joy. I will never forget it … I love her and if she wants me, I will always be in her life."

Mark Steyn, a clinical psychologist, testified that the woman felt she had been a good mother and believed she had not committed a crime.

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A South African woman convicted of kidnapping a baby from a hospital nearly two decades ago was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday.
south african, woman, kidnapping, baby, conviction, sentencing
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2016-24-16
Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 09:24 AM
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