Malawi woman jailed for stealing baby Upile: Five years IHL

There was drama at Blantyre Magistrates Court on Friday morning when a woman who snatched a month-old baby, Upile from the hospital cried for forgiveness from the biological mother, Bridget Taombe before she was convicted and sentenced to 60 months (five years) imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).

Nancy Lamulani 24, pleaded guilty of abducting a child before principal resident magistrate Innocent Nebi.

Nyasa Times reported this week that Lamulani and her husband, Edward 32 were arrested on Monday in Mbayani Township in connection to the theft of baby Upile, who was reportedly stolen last week Friday at Zingwangwa Health Centre, Blantyre.

She stole the baby after manipulating mother, Taombe 20 years old-who  had gone to the health centre for an antenatal clinic.

Lamulani maneuvered to get hold of the child by convincing Taombe to help changing the baby’s diaper, and taken by the warm gesture, the mother accepted but Lamulani later fled with the infant.

Taombe with husband: Happy to get justice and daughter back

Trial

Lamulani and her husband, Edward, were charged with fraudulently taking, retaining and concealing a child without the consent of its parents which is contrary to Section 167 of the Penal Code. They were answering the charges separately.

In mitigation, Nancy asked for forgiveness from Taombe, arguing she had no intention to harm the baby but only wanted to raise her.

“I apologize to the parents of the baby. They should forgive me because I have a child of my own and I don’t know what happened. My intention was to raise the baby as my own and not to harm her,” pleaded Nancy Lamulani.

She then complained of ill-treatment by the Police, claiming she was drenched in urine and beaten before taken to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) for DNA testing.

However, Taombe refused to show any sympathy to the thieving woman.

“If she wanted to have a baby, she would have used formal process to adopt one. But she stole my baby and I can’t forgive her for that,” said Taombe who had some reservations on the court’s ruling.

“I was expecting a stiffer punishment, but all the same I have accepted the court ruling. The most important thing is that, my baby is alive and in good health. I thank God for that and all those who helped to apprehend the culprit”.

Making the ruling, Senior Residence Magistrate, Innocent Nebi said the sentence is effective from the day of arrest and should serve as a warning shot for those of similar intentions.

Meanwhile, Nancy’s husband, Edward has been given bail by the same court and is expected to answer charges of concealing the stolen child knowingly.

“We are grateful to the people who managed to tip us following the public appeal we made on the stolen baby. The general public assisted us to apprehend the culprits,” Nicholas Gondwa Southern Region Police spokesman said.

Bridget Taombe is a resident of Green Corner along Chikhwawa road.

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