‘Don’t laugh at me’



August 4, 2016
‘Don’t laugh at me’

ANGER: Biological father Morné Nurse. CREDIT: Noor Slamdien

Zephany’s father kwaad as snatcher giggles during emotional court testimony.

The woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse laughed at the teen’s biological dad in court during his emotional testimony.

Morné Nurse believes his daughter, now 19, has been “indoctrinated” and that’s why he is no longer on speaking terms with her.

He resumed his testimony in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, saying he would never forgive the Seawinds woman for stealing his newborn child from Groote Schuur hospital almost 20 years ago.

“I will never forgive her for what she’s done, until she comes clean and is truthful with my daughter,” he said.

The 52-year-old woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity she gave Zephany 19 years ago, was convicted of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act.

She snatched Zephany from her mother’s hospital bedside when the baby was just three days old, on April 30, 1997.

The girl’s true identity was revealed in February last year, after her biological sister was enrolled at the same high school as her and classmates remarked on their striking resemblance.

DNA tests confirmed she was the child they had been searching for.

The snatcher has been in Pollsmoor Prison since she was found guilty in March.

Morné told the court that when he was first reunited with Zephany “she was over the moon”, and that she told him she had always doubted the people she lived with were her biological parents.

“She said she didn’t look like them,” he said.

But he said their relationship subsequently went “dormant”, and he blamed this on the accused.

“When the accused got bail, I felt Zephany was indoctrinated. Our relationship died when she [the accused] came out.”

He said he was “aching” for a relationship with his daughter, but “unfortunately that is not happening”.

Morné told the court his other three children had suffered and desperately wanted a relationship with their sister.

“They are forever asking when is she coming. I have no answers for them,” he added.

Turning to the accused and addressing her directly, Morné said: “The only thing I would like to tell the person who is sitting there is you have killed us in more ways than one. She will never know what she has put us through.”

But the middle-aged woman showed no remorse and seemed to stifle her laughter on several occasions during his testimony.

An angry Morné then told her: “You are laughing here, they keep on laughing, saying ugly things.”

On Monday, the woman also showed disrespect to Zephany’s mom Celeste.

While Celeste read out an emotional letter explaining how the kidnapping affected her family, the accused put her fingers in her ears to drown Celeste’s voice.

Morné also told the court he felt the State had failed his family and that Zephany should not have been allowed to return to live with the accused’s husband after her arrest.

“She is not going to choose us, that is normal,” he said.

Morné refused to tell the court how he felt about the way Zephany was raised.

Outside court, Zephany’s paternal grandmother Zephra Nurse told journalists “we went through shock for 18 years, she [Zephany] went through shock for the last year now only, it must be very, very difficult, so we are not pushing her”.

The final state witness, investigating officer Mike Barkhuizen, is expected to take the stand today.

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