Psychiatrist jailed for Romanian baby kidnap
May 30, 2012
A 40-year-old psychiatrist has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for kidnapping a baby from Romania.
The psychiatrist, who was of Romanian origin, began to suffer from mental illness herself and became obsessed with shamanic rituals, online news site 20 Minuten reported.
Despite already being a mother of two sons, she became increasingly obsessed with the idea of taking a baby girl from Romania, her homeland, in order that her dead mother could be reincarnated.
Under threat of divorce, her 50-year-old Swiss husband, an IT specialist in a bank, agreed to help her.
On 18 October 2009, the couple drove to Timisoara in Romania. The man cut a hole in the hospital fence and the woman stole a baby girl from the children’s hospital.
The pair returned to Zurich and, using false information, the husband registered the baby officially.
But Romanian detectives were soon on to them. Two months after the theft, the couple were interrogated and then charged. The pair confessed to the crime.
“It was a crazy idea that came over us,” they said.
While the prosecutor hoped for four and a half years in prison each, the defence sought only one. In addition, the psychiatrist’s lawyer argued that she had diminished responsibility due to her mental state.
“There is nothing worse that you can do to parents than steal their child,” the judge said.
The court found that such a crime was nearly in the same class of seriousness as murder, finding the pair’s actions “ruthless, cynical and selfish”. He sentenced the psychiatrist to three years in jail, refusing her the option of attending an outpatient psychotherapy clinic on the grounds that she may repeat offend.
The husband, who argued that he was under pressure from his wife to join in the kidnap, was given a two year suspended sentence.
The child was returned to her parents in Romania together with a 50,000-franc ($52,000) sum in damages.
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