Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Mercy for baby thief - Judge accepts that all was not well when she snatched the child from University Hospital

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson
Parents Milton and Angel Praba Maxwell with their baby who was snatched from the University Hospital of the West Indies.

Justice Martin Gayle last Friday extended mercy to Lorna Williamson, the woman accused of stealing a newborn from the University Hospital of the West Indies last December.

Williamson was sentenced to three years probation with psychiatric counselling after Gayle described his position as one akin to the biblical King Solomon, who had to decide custody of a baby between two alleged mothers.

"The first good thing is that you have pleaded guilty and have not wasted the court's time. Once a person pleads guilty it is an expression of remorse," said Gayle.

"The community is also begging for you ... It is because of this illness and loss of child why this has come down on you," added Gayle, as he read statements from a social enquiry report, before handing down his sentence.

The court was told that Williamson, shortly after losing a pregnancy, went to the hospital and took up the child. Sometime later the baby was found at her workplace.

The baby girl was sleeping in a cot adjacent to her mother's bed on a ward at the hospital when she was snatched.

Williamson, who had pleaded guilty in October as part of the second Sentence Reduction Day, appeared at the Home Circuit Court last Friday wearing a green suit and an expression of remorse on her face as defence attorney Carol DaCosta outlined her history of domestic abuse and emotional trauma.

"She suffered serious shock to the extent where she lost sight of the circumstances and surroundings. She really saw it as a means of giving love. She is one person I think I can safely say deserves all the mercy we can give," said DaCosta.

"She was abused physically and dragged from her house and thrown out ... she is very remorseful, and has no criminal records," continued DaCosta, as a sombre Williamson looked on in silence from the dock.

 

FORGIVEN

 

The parents of the child, Milton Maxwell and his wife Angel Praba, had previously indicated that they had forgiven Williams, having been reunited with their child.

"I have never seen her, but she made a mistake and I assume she is going through some psychological issue. She took our baby, but we got her back in good condition, so that's all we are happy about. We don't want to punish her any further," the father had told The Sunday Gleaner.

"She took the baby, but when we examined her, she was fed, she (the woman) changed her clothes, and overall, she took care of her. So, at least she kept the baby in good condition. We have forgiven her and we don't want to carry the issue any further. We just want to focus on our children," he added.

Williamson was among 22 accused persons who pleaded guilty to crimes in the Home Circuit Court in October.

In the meantime, Kino Gilzene, the man who allegedly stabbed and killed a prostitute after sex in 2014, was sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found to have a mental condition.

Gilzene confessed to stabbing the woman five times after threatening and strangling her. The incident occurred after the two had sex at his home.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com