Four arrested after baby girl abducted from ward is found

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A Two-day old twin girl was found safe and well last night hours after being abducted from a maternity ward while her mother slept only feet away.

A Two-day old twin girl was found safe and well last night hours after being abducted from a maternity ward while her mother slept only feet away.

The baby was found at a house in Dudley, West Midlands, after a tip-off following a nationwide appeal, nearly seven hours after she was taken from a nearby hospital. Police arrested two women and one man at an undisclosed address within five miles of the hospital at about 8.15pm last night. A second man was arrested later.

The baby was soon reunited with her parents and was being checked by hospital doctors last night. The alarm was raised when the identical twin was snatched from a cot at the foot of the bed where her mother, a 32-year-old married woman, was sleeping.

Two women were seen acting suspiciously in the grounds of the Wordsley Hospital in Stourbridge. They then went into ward F4 on the fourth floor of the hospital at 1.40pm yesterday, 20 minutes before visiting time, and took the girl. A nurse on routine health checks woke the mother to ask where her daughter had gone.

Witnesses said they saw one of the suspects, both in their mid to late 20s, rushing from the hospital with the baby stuffed under her black bomber-style jacket while her accomplice carried a blue baby car seat. Police sealed off surrounding roads and searched the hospital grounds but could not find the girl. The search was widened and, after a call from a member of the public, the baby was found in the Dudley area.

Asked about the possible motivation for the abduction before the baby was found, Superintendent Steve Rowell of West Midlands Police said: "At this point we can only speculate, but it's a possibility this may be brought on by the grief of losing a child." Since the 1994 abduction of a newborn, Abbie Humphries, from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, security in mother and baby wards has been tightened.

The hospital trust is expected to come under pressure to explain how the two suspects overcame security. Yvonne O'Connor, the hospital's head of midwifery, said an electronic security tagging system for newborn babies had been due to be installed at the unit within days.