Ce­leste Nurse baby kid­nap­ping case to start in Fe­bru­ary

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE woman from Laven­der Hill al­leged to have kid­napped a new­born baby at Groote Schuur Hos­pi­tal 18 years ago and raised the child as her own ap­peared in the Western Cape High Court yes­ter­day for a pre-trial con­fer­ence.

Ad­vo­cate Bon­nie Cur­rieGamwo, a deputy di­rec­tor in the Western Cape Direc­torate for Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, is to pros­e­cute the case and at­tor­ney Reaz Khan is to un­der­take the de­fence.

The woman ac­cused of kid­nap­ping the baby may not be named to pro­tect the new iden­tity of the teenage girl. The woman is to be in­dicted on charges of kid­nap­ping, fraud and con­tra­ven­ing the Chil­dren’s Act.

Judge MJ Do­lamo sched­uled the case to start on Fe­bru­ary 22, with the mat­ter ex­pected to run un­til March 10.

It is al­leged the woman took the baby from Groote Schuur Hos­pi­tal on March 30, 1997. The baby had been born by cae­sarean sec­tion two days ear­lier. Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, the ac­cused be­friended the baby’s mother and “con­vinced her to hand over her daugh­ter so that she could sleep”.

Staff later woke the mother, Ce­leste Nurse, to in­form her her baby daugh­ter was miss­ing.

De­spite a na­tion­wide search, the child was only found ear­lier this year, liv­ing close to her bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents and at­tend­ing the same school as her younger bi­o­log­i­cal sis­ter. Her bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents have at­tended the court ap­pear­ances of the ac­cused since her ar­rest in Fe­bru­ary.

The girl’s younger bi­o­log­i­cal sis­ter started Grade 8 at the same school as her this year and the two struck up a friend­ship af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced be­cause of their re­mark­able re­sem­blance. Her par­ents im­me­di­ately thought she could be their kid­napped daugh­ter and in­formed po­lice.

Sub­se­quent DNA tests con­firmed she was their child. The ac­cused was ar­rested.

The ac­cused is out on bail of R5000, but may not have any con­tact with the child. – ANA

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