'Pregnant' woman accused of abducting baby

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 11:33 10/01/2012

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A woman falsely claiming to be pregnant allegedly attempted to abduct a baby from Middlemore Hospital and got the child to a parked car before she was stopped.

It's understood Neha Narayan carried the baby out of the hospital to a waiting car last Wednesday after being handed the one-day-old girl by a staff member who assumed she was the mother.

The alleged abduction was only foiled after the girl's parents saw the woman leave and alerted hospital staff.

Counties Manukau police spokeswoman Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey said Narayan had falsely claimed to be pregnant for nine months before telling her partner she was overdue and needed to be taken to hospital to be induced.

The partner dropped the 24-year-old Fijian-Indian off at 11am and she allegedly then spent several hours "moving through the birthing unit attempting to uplift a child", Gates-Bowey said.

After allegedly uplifting the baby Gates-Bowey said Narayan called her partner saying she was ready to be picked up.

It's understood that followed an earlier attempt where Narayan was found holding a two-day-old baby by its mother.

When confronted Narayan is believed to have told the mother the baby had been crying and she was simply comforting it.

After that incident Narayan went to another room where it's understood a hospital staff member, assuming she was the mother, handed her the one-day-old baby and asked her to hold it.

Narayan is alleged to have then left for the car park where her partner and another person were waiting.

Both those in the car were under the impression the woman was pregnant, Gates-Bowey said.

She said the baby's parents, who did not know Narayan, told hospital staff they saw her carrying what they thought was their baby.

She said hospital staff went to the car park and intervened as the woman allegedly attempted to leave.

Police later arrested Narayan and charged her with abduction of a young person.

She appeared in the Manukau District Court last Thursday and was remanded on bail.

She is due to re-appear in the court later this month.

Narayan was asked to surrender her passport.

Middlemore Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Young said the baby's family had been offered support and a security review was underway to "identify any gaps".

Young said they could not say how Narayan entered the area that was restricted to staff, patients and immediate family, or how she allegedly ended up with the baby.

She would not comment on the progress of the hospital's investigation or whether anyone had been disciplined over the incident.

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