Sentencing proceedings in the case against a Lavender Hill woman accused of kidnapping an infant from a maternity ward in 1997 is expected to be highly charged as the State calls Zephany Nurse to the stand on Monday.
Monday is the first time in 15 months that Zephany will come face-to-face with the woman who raised her for 19 years in the culmination of a trial that grabbed international headlines.
It will be the first time the public gains insight into Zephany’s life, although she has on more than one occasion come to the defence of the woman who kidnappedher, speaking through her lawyer Anne Skelton.
Although the 19-year-old is no longer a minor, an interdict granted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria prohibits the media from publishing any information that reveals Zephany’s true identity.
This includes publishing the name of the woman found guilty of kidnapping her.
The woman was found guilty of kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections of the Children’s Act after allegedly snatching Zephany from her sleeping mother’s arms in Groote Schuur Hospital almost two decades ago.
Zephany has been separated from the 51-year-old seamstress who raised her for more than a year as her trial commenced in the Western Cape High Court.
The relationship between Zephany and her biological parents, Celeste and Morné Nurse, has been strained with Zephany opting to stay with the man who helped raise her.
The woman found guilty of kidnapping her spoke of the love and commitment she had for her daughter moments before she was found guilty by Cape Judge President John Hlophe.
During the trial, the woman alleged that a woman only known as Sylvia arranged a baby be handed to her at a train station in Wynberg.
It also emerged that the woman was pretending to be pregnant to fool herhusband and passed Zephany off as her own for years before Morné discovered the truth.
A Hawks investigation later led to the woman’s arrest after DNA samples proved Zephany was not the woman’s biological daughter.
Zephany’s lawyers are prepared to take legal action to help her keep the name given to her by the woman who kidnapped her.
Proceedings are expected to be held in camera.[Source: Cape Argus]