Update: Zephany Nurse's biological parents testify

Celeste Nurse has recounted how she went into labour before being transferred to Groote Schuur.

Zephany Nurse's mother, Celeste, and her boyfriend make their way to the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Relatives and friends are supporting Celeste Nurse, who earlier took to the stand in the trial of a woman accused of kidnapping her baby almost 19 years ago.

She claims her three-day-old daughter, Zephany, was snatched from her arms while she was asleep at the Groote Schuur Hospital in April 1997.

A Lavender Hill woman, who may not be named to protect the identity of the child, is on trial in the Western Cape High Court.

Several women in the public gallery started crying and whipped out tissues when Celeste started sobbing on the witness stand.

Zephany's biological mother has recounted how she went into labour before being transferred from the Retreat Day Hospital to Groote Schuur.

She was 18 at the time.

Celeste has testified that on the day of her new born's disappearance she was sleepy due to medication.

She says her bed was closest to the door in the maternity ward.

#ZephanyNurse Zephany's father Morné sits in the balcony at the WC #HighCourt before proceedings. @ThomHolder pic.twitter.com/yUI6e8qQrg

The emotional mother has told the court a woman dressed in nurses' uniform with dark brown hair offered to comfort her infant.

She says she panicked and realised her daughter had disappeared when another nurse later asked her where her baby was.


Earlier today, the woman accused of kidnapping Zephany pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections of the Children's Act.

#ZephanyNurse The accused returns to the WC #HighCourt after a short recess. @ThomHolder pic.twitter.com/KWrziHygLA

The State claims she abducted Nurse from her sleeping mother's arms at the Cape Town hospital 1997 and alleges that the woman registered Nurse under a false name and provided false information at the Home Affairs Department in Malmesbury in 2003.

Her lawyer has indicated they'll be submitting a plea explanation.


Zephany's biological father also testified this afternoon and described how he struggled to find his daughter, who was missing for 18 years.

Morne Nurse recalls the events of 30 April 1997 - the day he took a call at work revealing his three-day-old daughter had disappeared from the hospital.

He says after 18 years of searching for his missing child, the breakthrough came when his younger daughter started high school and met a girl who resembled her.

Nurse testifies he took the two girls out after school and questioned the girl who resembled his daughter.

He says the teenager told him she was born on the 30 April 1997, the exact date on which his daughter disappeared from hospital.

The hopeful father then did some more investigating and went to the Hawks with the information he had gathered.

#ZephanyNurse Morne Nurse: I told her she looks like me and my daughter Cassidy. Zephany burst out laughing saying that she doesn't know. SF

#ZephanyNurse Morne Nurse: Zephany showed me a pic of her parents as she thought it was weird that she didn't look like her parents. SF

#ZephanyNurse a Mrs Piet at the hospital gave the police a description of suspect. Morne Nurse says they didn't know Mrs Piet. SF


Friends of the Nurse family say the past year has been emotionally draining with the return of their long lost daughter.

Thursday marks exactly a year since the Nurse family confirmed their daughter, who had been missing for almost 18 years, was alive and well.

But at court, some family members and friends crowding the public gallery claim the miraculous reunion has brought more strife than celebration.

A family friend says the teenager has been pulled in all directions.