Cape Town - The woman convicted of one of the most high-profile kidnapping cases in the world is to serve her jail term at a facility where the A-listers of prisoners, including Najwa Petersen and Dina Rodrigues, are being held.
The 52-year-old Lavender Hill woman, who cannot be identified, was admitted to the Breede River women’s prison near Worcester on Wednesday, Breede River Management Area spokesperson Simphiwe Xaphe confirmed.
The all-female prison, known as one of the cleaner and more comfortable facilities in the Western Cape, has been in the news because of the high-profile prisoners held there.
Rodrigues, who is serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 2005 murder of baby Jordan Norton, has been in the same prison since 2007. She received an outstanding achievement award at an academic graduation ceremony in 2012.
Rodrigues and Petersen were also featured in the press in 2009 when they sat together at a Women’s Day event at the prison, snacking and cracking jokes in their denim overalls.
Now the woman who kidnapped Zephany could become part of their inner circle after she was transferred there from Pollsmoor Prison on Wednesday to begin serving her sentence.
Her husband refused to say how he felt about the move, saying on Thursday the family had decided not to speak to the media at all. On Monday, Cape Judge President John Hlophe sentenced her to 14 years behind bars for the kidnapping, four of which were suspended.
Five years were imposed for fraud and an additional five years for the contravention of the Children’s Act. However, since those sentences were ordered to run concurrently, her effective jail term amounted to 10 years - so far the harshest imposed in the Western Cape for a hospital kidnapping.
Judge Hlophe said he viewed the offences in a very serious light and pointed out that investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Barkhuizen had testified about the prevalence of such crimes in society. He said the harm caused to the Nurse family was tremendous.
In terms of the law, the woman becomes eligible for release on parole after serving half her sentence - even less if she gets time off for good behaviour or if any general amnesties are granted during that period.
Until then, she will have to settle into new home, about 120km from Lavender Hill.
The kidnapping case made headlines when Zephany was found at the age of 17.