South African court jails Zephany Nurse baby-snatcher

South African court jails Zephany Nurse baby-snatcher
August 15 16:14 2016

A South African court has jailed a woman for 10 years for
 kidnapping a baby from her hospital bed 19 years ago and
raising her as her own.
 The 51-year-old woman was arrested in 2015 after people 
noticed an uncanny resemblance between the girl, Zephany
 Nurse, and another girl at school.

DNA tests carried out by police then proved that the two
 girls were sisters.
 Judge John Hlophe told the defendant she had “betrayed”
 Zephany by her actions.
 The kidnapped girl’s biological parents, Celeste and Morne 
Nurse, called her Zephany, but the name she grew up with
 has not been revealed to protect her identity.

The convicted woman has also not been named for similar
 reasons.
 Local media have previously reported that Zephany does not
 wish to have a relationship with her biological parents and
 considers the woman who kidnapped her as her mother.
 She has decided to continue living with her abductor’s
 husband, whom she grew up believing to be her father.

Outside the court, Zephany’s biological grandmother Marilyn
 said she was not happy with the length of the sentence, but
 hoped that the family would now have a chance to bond and
 form a relationship with Zephany.

The judge told the accused she had had “all the time in the
world” to return the child but had chosen not to.
 Annual local media coverage of the parents’ birthday
 celebrations for their missing baby daughter meant that
 there was no way the defendant could not have known they
 were still looking for her, he said.
 He also said her decision to plead not guilty and portray
 herself as a victim in the affair counted against her.

Bittersweet victory: Pumza Fihlani, BBC News,
South Africa

It is a story that has gripped South Africa, but now finally
 has some form of closure.
 The 52-year old woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany
 Nurse watched stone-faced as the judge handed down his
 sentence.
 Members of the Nurse family and the family of the accused 
packed the Cape Town court house.
 Delivering his ruling, Judge Hlope criticised the woman for
 lying to the court during the trial.
 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 seam stress raised Zephany as her own,
 just a few kilometres from the home of her biological
parents.
 The Nurse family’s victory in court is bittersweet.
 The woman responsible for Zephany’s kidnap may be
 behind bars, but their daughter has decided to continue
 living with the husband of the woman who kidnapped her.

(BBC)