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 folks discovered an uncanny resemblance between another girl, Zephany Nurse, and the lady at school.
DNA tests performed by cops afterward shown that the two girls were sisters.
Judge John Hlophe told the defendant she had “betrayed” Zephany by her activities.
Celeste and Morne Nurse, the kidnapped girl’s biological parents, called her Zephany, but the name she grew up with hasn’t been revealed to protect her identity.
The girl that was convicted has also not been named for similar motives.
Local media have previously reported that Zephany considers the woman who kidnapped her as her mother and doesn’t want to have a relationship with her biological parents.
She has decided to continue living with the husband, whom she grew up believing to be her father of her abductor.
Outside the court, the biological grandmother Marilyn of Zephany said she was unhappy with the length of the sentence, but hoped that the family would have a chance to bond and form a relationship.
The judge told the accused she’d had “all the time in the world” to return the kid but had chosen not to.
Yearly local media coverage of the parents’ birthday celebrations because of their baby daughter that was lost meant that there was no way the defendant cannot have understood they were looking for her, he said.
He also said her choice to plead not guilty and depict herself as a victim in the affair counted against her.
It’s a narrative that has gripped South Africa, but now finally has some form of resolution.
The 52-year old girl convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse observed stone-faced as the judge handed down his sentence.
The family of the accused and members of the Nurse family packed the Cape Town courthouse.
Giving his ruling, Judge Hlope criticised the woman for lying to the court.
He dismissed as “a fairytale” her claim the baby girl was handed to her by another woman at a railway station.
The softspoken seamstress raised Zephany as her own, just a couple of kilometres from your residence of her biological parents.
The victory in court of the Nurse family is bittersweet.
The woman responsible for the kidnap of Zephany may be behind bars, but their daughter has decided to continue living with the husband of the woman who kidnapped her.