The woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse from her cot in a maternity ward at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997 was sentenced to 10 years direct imprisonment.

She was found guilty of kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections of the Children’s Act earlier this year.

Judge President John Hlophe said the crime was premeditated and too serious not to warrant a jail sentence.

The State pushed for 10 years imprisonment and a fine during closing arguments in sentencing procedures last week.

The defence asked the court for leniency, arguing that the 52-year-old Lavender Hill seamstress was a first time offender and has bad health.

The woman snatched Zephany Nurse from her mother’s hospital bedside on April 30, 1997. The infant had been born via caesarean section to Morne and Celeste Nurse on April 28.

The Nurses’ 17-year search for their missing daughter finally ended when their younger biological daughter started high school at the same school as Zephany.

Classmates remarked on the sisters’ striking resemblance and when the younger sister told her father, he contacted the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks). DNA tests revealed the matric girl was indeed Zephany Nurse, and the accused was arrested in February last year.

The woman claimed in court she bought Zephany from another woman, Sylvia, at a train station in Wynberg in 1997.

Both Celeste and Morne Nurse testified in aggravation of sentence that their lives had been severely impacted by the kidnapping, and that a relationship with their now 19-year-old daughter was non-existent.

Source:- African News Agency and Cape Argus