A South Auckland woman has admitted abducting a 5-day-old baby from Middlemore Hospital.

Loni Marsh, 27, appeared in Manukau District Court today where she pleaded guilty to a charge of kidnapping and an unrelated charge of driving while disqualified.

A 31-year-old man charged with kidnapping previously pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

Elsje Pretorius gave birth to Nadine, her third daughter, on September 20. The pair returned to Middlemore days later with complications.


About 8pm on September 25, just after visiting hours had finished and family members had left, Mrs Pretorius had a quick shower while Nadine was sleeping. Her hospital room had an ensuite and she was just metres away. When she got out of the shower, the baby was gone.

The baby girl was found at a Manurewa property about 4am, safe and well, and was reunited with her parents.

The findings of a review of security at Middlemore Hospital are expected to be made public next week.

Mrs Pretorius said yesterday the family was still coming to terms with the incident.

"I do sometimes feel that we're not coping.

"Just after it all happened we were just so grateful to have her back in our arms we didn't think much of the after effects or what was to lie ahead."

She said she understood that immediately after Nadine was taken from the ward security was "ramped up" at the hospital, including a security guard posted outside the neo-natal ward.

A spokeswoman for Counties Manukau District Health Board said the review would be presented before the Middlemore Board on December 3.


Marsh will be sentenced next month.