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Zephany Nurse kidnapper accused of manipulating psychologist

Sentencing proceedings against the Lavender Hill woman got underway in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

Celeste Nurse leaves the Western Cape High Court after the woman who kidnapped her biological daughter Zephany was found guilty on 10 March 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The State has argued Zephany Nurse's kidnapper has managed to manipulate a clinical psychologist.

Sentencing proceedings against the Lavender Hill woman got underway in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

The 52-year-old snatched Nurse from her sleeping mother's arms at Groote Schuur Hospital. The child was just 3-days-old.

Testifying in mitigation of sentence, clinical psychologist Mark Steyn detailed the convicted kidnapper's health problems, abuse as a child and abusive relationships.

But prosecutor Evadne Kortje tried to discredit his testimony by questioning whether the tests were relevant and whether they could be influenced.

She told the court, studies indicate that women who steal children are either nurturing, impulsive psychotic or manipulative.

Kortje said the Lavender Hill woman can be categorised as manipulative, because she has never owned up to kidnapping the infant.

Steyn concedes that in the 13 meetings he had with the 52-year-old kidnapper, she never acknowledged her crime.

STRAINED RELATIONSHIP

Meanwhile, the biological parents of Zephany Nurse yesterday described the strained relationship they've had with their daughter since being reunited.

Morne and Celeste Nurse became emotional as they recollected the hardship their family had gone through for almost 18 years, as they searched for their child.

Celeste said she contemplated committing suicide after her child was snatched from her arms while she slept.

She said her relationship with her biological daughter remains strained.

Zephany's biological mother told the court she used to see her daughter regularly after they were reunited with her, but now they barely speak.

Zephany's biological father admitted he is emotionally drained from the 19-year saga of losing his daughter, finding her and now being estranged from her.

While testifying in aggravation of sentence, he broke down and sobbed uncontrollably.

Nurse told the court he initially blamed his wife for falling asleep instead of watching their infant.

He said the kidnapping and subsequent reunion with his long lost daughter has been a roller coaster ride that's having a devastating effect on his life.

Nurse admitted he has no relationship with his first born and says he has had enough of the saga.

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