Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

Baby grab leads to security shake-up

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Middlemore Hospital in Auckland has beefed up security after a woman entered the maternity ward and snatched a two-day-old baby in January.

Neha Narayan, 25, yesterday pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland to a charge of kidnapping after trying to take the infant from the hospital on January 4.

The incident sparked an immediate review of hospital security, which has resulted in several changes.

A hospital spokeswoman said an additional security camera had been installed and security cameras on the maternity ward had been reviewed and amended to ensure they covered all entries and exits.

The time it takes for swipe card-controlled doors to close has decreased from 30 to 15 seconds to prevent unauthorised people entering, and parents are required to sign out when leaving the ward.

"The family of the baby have been kept informed at regular intervals on the progress of the investigation and the outcome and recommendations for increased awareness for parents on the maternity ward," the spokeswoman said.

There had been no further incidents.

Police have previously said Narayan tried to take the newborn while her partner was waiting outside in a car.

She was stopped by the baby's parents and a nurse.

Narayan's former lawyer Heeni Phillips earlier said Narayan had been pregnant to her partner of six years but lost the baby last year and had been "suffering tragically and psychologically".

She was holding a baby that did not belong to her for reasons connected to "her previous predicament with her baby" but there had been a misunderstanding, Ms Phillips said.

"She didn't have any intention of running out with the child."

Justice Peter Woodhouse convicted Narayan and gave her a warning under the "three strikes" legislation.

He ordered a pre-sentence report, which was to include details of the treatment Narayan would require.

She was remanded on bail until her sentencing next month.

Narayan and her lawyer, Ron Mansfield, declined to comment outside court.

- APNZ

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 25 May 2017 18:58:13 Processing Time: 868ms