Baby kidnap victim talks of ordeal

ABBIE Humphries, who was snatched from a Nottingham hospital as a three-hour-old baby 16 years ago, only to be returned to her parents 17 days later, has spoken for the first time of her experience.

Now living with her family in New Zealand, where her parents Karen and Roger emigrated six years ago, Humphries says her ordeal has inspired her to join the police.

"I learned how hard the police worked looking for me - perhaps that's why I've been thinking about joining up. Maybe I'll end up as a detective."

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Humphries' disappearance sparked a nationwide manhunt in 1994 after a woman posing as a nurse walked out of Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre carrying her after claiming she needed a hearing test. Police eventually discovered Humphries at 22-year-old Julie Kelley's home.

Humphries' mother Karen says the family harbour no anger towards Kelley, who had faked a pregnancy in order to keep her boyfriend and was put on probation for three years on condition she was treated for a severe personality disorder.

"We don't think about her - you can imagine what I felt about her at the time - but now I sometimes struggle to remember her name. I want it to stay that way."

Abbie says that since the move to New Zealand six years ago her parents have done their best not to be overprotective of her.

However, her mother revealed that until she was three she wouldn't let her out of her sight.

"We couldn't allow what happened to distort how we did things." said Karen.

"I've had a loving and carefree upbringing," said Abbie. "I've never been treated as 'different'."

She says she only realised how big an ordeal she had gone through after seeing the press cuttings.

"But it didn't stir up any emotions of horror or anything. To be honest, I thought it was rather cool."