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Sun Jun 26 17:24:32 SAST 2016

Family ‘waiting patiently’ for Zephany to come home‚ says gran

TMG Digital | 10 March, 2016 15:30
Zephany Nurse's biological grandmother Zephra Nurse outside the Cape Town High Court on February 22, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. The trial of the woman accused of abducting baby Zephany Nurse 19 years ago continues in court today.
Image by: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais

The biological family of Zephany Nurse who was snatched from a hospital as a three-day-old baby 19 years ago are waiting patiently for her to come home‚ her grandmother says.

"We just say that she must come. Because she grew up in a different land‚ you know like Moses‚ like Joseph. They grew up in foreign lands. So she must now rid herself of that foreign land. And we are waiting patiently‚” said Zephira Nurse‚ the mother of Zephany’s biological father Morne Nurse.

She was speaking outside the courtroom where the 51-year-old woman who snatched her from Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital on April 30‚ 1997‚ was convicted on Thursday of kidnapping‚ fraud and contraventions of sections of the Children’s Act.

Cape Town Judge President John Hlophe said the woman‚ who had led Zephany into believing she was her biological mother‚ had had an opportunity to come clean about how she got to raise the child when police had confronted her in February last year – but she had lied.

Zephany was brought up under a different name‚ and the woman cannot be named to protect the teenager.

In her plea explanation‚ the woman‚ who had pleaded not guilty to the charges‚ detailed her numerous attempts to conceive‚ a number of miscarriages and her desperation to adopt a child.

She said a woman she knew only as “Sylvia” had given her the child and told her that “a young girl was not interested in keeping her baby and wanted to give her up for adoption”. She said she paid Sylvia R3‚000 for the adoption and fertility treatment. She also admitted to misleading her husband and family into believing the child was his and hiding her miscarriage from him.

Hlophe found her story implausible.

“I found your evidence astonishing‚” Hlophe said.

“One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that one does not buy babies. Your story‚ if anything‚ is a fairytale.

“The evidence of your husband…made it worse. This is your husband (and) you lied to him for almost two decades. He got to know for the first time when police arrived (at your home) in February 2015 that he is not the biological father of the child.”

Hlophe revoked the woman’s bail and she was immediately whisked away to the court’s holding cells. Sentencing procedures were postponed until May 30.

Outside court‚ Zephany’s other biological grandmother‚ Marilyn Francis‚ expressed sympathy for the kidnapper.

“I feel sorry for her because she’s going to jail and jail for a woman‚ at that age‚ it’s not a good place. But it’s justice.”

Francis‚ who is the mother of Celeste Nurse‚ Zephany’s biological mom‚ also voiced concern for the turmoil that her grandchild would be experiencing at seeing the woman who had raised her go to prison.

But‚ she said‚ Zephany was still young and was reuniting with her real family.

“Blood is thicker than water. We’ve already bonded with her‚” Francis said.

The woman was arrested last year after DNA tests proved that Zephany was not her child.

Zephany was reunited with her biological parents‚ Celeste and Morne Nurse‚ last year after her sister‚ Cassidy‚ enrolled at Zephany’s school and pupils remarked on their similarities‚ which led to an investigation.

TMG Digital/The Times

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