Baby kidnapper Nadene Faye Manukau-Togiavalu jailed for three years

An Auckland woman has been jailed for three years after a 2017 burglary and kidnapping of a newborn baby.

Nadene Faye Manukau-Togiavalu broke into an Epsom house with her cousin Sydnee Toulapapa and took the 11-day-old baby.

The child was found by police safe and sound seven hours later.

An Auckland court heard Manukau-Togiavalu faked a pregnancy in the year leading up to the kidnapping, going so far as to have a baby shower and buying props for the charade.

At a court appearance in August 2017, Manukau-Togiavalu's defence lawyer said she was "extremely unwell" and needed treatment. She was remanded on bail to Waiatarau Acute Unit at Waitakere Hospital.

Cousin Toulapapa had been living in Australia for eight months before the incident and was on holiday in New Zealand when it happened. Her passport has been confiscated.

She was discharged without conviction in April, although she was ordered to pay $2000 in reparations to the family or a charity and carry out 400 hours of community service.

In a victim impact statement, the baby's parents said the kidnapping ordeal was "like watching a horror movie".

"We invited Nadene into our home to care for our baby daughter. We trusted the nanny agency that found and recommended her, and in return we were plunged into hell for the longest seven hours of our lives."

They expressed gratitude to NZ Police and Crown Law, and said Manukau-Togiavalu's three-year jail sentence had brought them some small relief.

"No sentence will ever remove the trauma Nadene has caused our family, but it is of some comfort to know that the sentencing at least reflects at some level the depth of evil she has committed against us and others."

However they said that Justice Woodhouse's ruling to discharge Toulapapa without conviction was "appalling".

"This effectively says to every New Zealand parent that their children are not safe."

"The fine men and women of NZ Police do amazing work, and yet the system as it stands is of most benefit to the criminals. What protection is there in the justice system for parents and their young children?

"How do we keep them safe when there is such little consequence for committing serious crimes?"