South African baby-snatcher sentenced to 10 years in jail

August 15, 2016 6:24 AM EDT

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - A South African woman found guilty of kidnapping a newly-born baby was given a 10 year prison sentence on Monday, almost two decades after she snatched the child from her biological mother’s hospital bedside, a court official said.

The 51-year-old woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity she gave to baby “Zephany Nurse”, was arrested in 2015 after suspicions were raised when pupils at her school remarked on her close resemblance to another girl.

DNA tests carried out by police then proved that the two girls were sisters, ending 19 years of uncertainty for biological parents, Celeste and Morne Nurse.

Prosecutors wanted the Cape High Court to impose a 15-year sentence on the accused. She was found guilty of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act.

"I can confirm that the accused in this case has been sentenced to 10 years direct imprisonment. We are happy with that sentence," said Eric Ntabazalila, a regional spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Joe Brock)



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