A woman has been jailed for 10 years after kidnapping a baby from a South African hospital 19 years ago and raising her as her own.
The story of “Zephany Nurse”, who was snatched from her sleeping mother’s arms as a newborn, has captivated South Africa for decades.
The crime was only uncovered after people noticed an uncanny resemblance between Zephany and another girl at her school. A subsequent DNA confirmed that the two were sisters.
The convicted woman’s name has not been released, in order to protect the identity of the victim. She is a 51-year-old seamstress.
During the trial, she told the court that she had suffered several miscarriages. She denied stealing the baby, and instead claimed that she was handed a newborn baby at a busy railway station by a woman called Sylvia.
Her husband, who only discovered Zephany’s real identity recently, has stood by his wife.
"No-one believes me at this moment and I'm a victim myself. I was tricked into something I was not aware of," she told the BBC in an interview she gave before she was convicted.
But one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the case is that “Zephany” herself is said to be devastated and confused by the revelations.
Local media have reported that Zephany does not wish to have a relationship with her birth parents, and despite everything, still considers the woman who kidnapped her to be as mother.
According to the BBC, Zephany’s family hopes they will now have a chance to bond and form a relationship with Zephany.