Baby kidnapper gets 10 years behind bars

Zephany's kidnapper (Getty)
Zephany's kidnapper (Getty)

A South African woman has been jailed for 10 years for kidnapping a baby from her hospital bed 19 years ago and raising her as her own.

The 52-year-old was arrested last year after people noticed an uncanny resemblance between the girl and another at her school. DNA testing later proved the two girls were sisters.

The woman, whose name has not been released, maintains her innocence.

Her real parents called their daughter Zephany, but only knew her for three days before she was stolen from her hospital cot in 1997.

Seventeen years later other daughter Cassidy came home from high school with some remarkable news.

"Cassidy came home and told me, 'Daddy there is a girl at school that resembles me,'" says biological father Morne Nurse.

"I wanted to get to know this girl."

The kidnapper says she was "tricked", being given baby Zephany at a train station.

The judge, John Hlohpe, said that was a "fairytale".

"You caused so much harm to Zephany, who for 17 years didn't know you were not her biological mother. You actually betrayed her… You had every opportunity to return the child, year in and year out."

By all accounts, Zephany's kidnapper wasn't a bad mother - the victim issuing a statement earlier this year defending her.

"Don’t you think for once that that is my mother? Whether it is true or not is not for you to toy with."

It's reported she has struggled to form a bond with her biological parents.