A witness has come forward to testify against the accused in the Zephany Nurse kidnap case. Shireen Piet of Cape Town said the 50-year-old Lavender Hill woman, not named to protect the new identity of now teenaged Zephany Nurse, tried to snatch her newborn infant on April 30 1997.
The woman faces charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act. It is alleged she kidnapped three-day-old Nurse almost 19 years ago from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and raised her as her own child.
Piet told the Western Cape High Court that she had also given birth by caesarean section on April 28, 1997, the same day Nurse was born to Morne and Celeste Nurse. On April 29 and 30, Piet said, a heavily pregnant woman visited her several times while she was recovering in hospital.
“Her tummy was very big,” she told the Western Cape High Court yesterday. Piet recalled the woman telling her she had tried to get pregnant for 18 years and that her attempt was a miscarriage. The witness said she borrowed money from the woman and while using the public pay phone, saw her leaving the ward with her child.
“I went to her and said give me my baby. She gave me my child and said she had been crying. I took the baby, she didn’t look like she had been crying.”
Later, on April 30, Piet said, she heard a man sobbing loudly: “He said my child is gone.” “I said there was a woman who nearly took my child.” Piet was then questioned by police. She helped draw up an Identikit of the woman, believed to have snatched Nurse.
Nearly 18 years later, Nurse’s biological father, Morne, contacted Piet and sent her a photo to identify on WhatsApp.
“I said this woman on this photo is 100% the woman who was walking with my child.” Judge John Hlophe then asked the witness if that same woman was in court and Piet pointed to the accused. The state was expected to call three more witnesses yesterday.
The defence will call about three witnesses on Monday. Nurse was reunited with her biological parents last February, after her younger sister started at the same school as her. DNA tests confirmed that she was Zephany Nurse. Zephany is not allowed contact with the accused, who is out on R5 000 bail.