Karen Humphries, 32, a community maternity nurse who had worked on the ward at the Queen's Medical Centre where her baby was abducted, fought back tears as she pleaded for her baby's safe return. 'I just want to say to whoever has taken our baby please, please bring her back because she should be with us.'
Mrs Humphries, speaking of her three-year-old son, Charlie, said: 'I have a little boy at home who wants to know where his new baby (sister) has gone.' Her husband Roger, 33, an industrial painter and decorator, sat next to her, repeatedly asking her if she was alright.
The couple, speaking publicly for the first time after the abduction on Friday, held hands throughout and refused to answer questions after making the statement. Mrs Humphries was visibly distressed, and said: 'I just want to get this over with.'
The couple, who live in the Nottingham area, revealed yesterday that they had named the new baby Abbie.
Police yesterday issued a detailed description of the woman believed to have abducted the child after donning a nurses's uniform. They said she was a white female in her mid to late twenties, 5 ft 4 in to 5 ft 6 in tall with a plump build. She had black permed hair, although that was probably not its natural colour, which was pulled back off her face by hair grips. According to detailed eyewitnesses accounts, she was later seen in black plastic sunglasses, a green T-shirt and dark grey Lycra leggings.
Detective Superintendent Harry Shepherd, leading the investigation, said officers were still examining a security video which would have filmed the woman leaving with the baby via the main entrance at the hospital. He said the images on the video, which operated at a frame a second, were blurred.
He described the baby as an apparently healthy girl weighing around nine pounds with a shock of blondish hair. He added that there was a photograph of her but the parents did not wish this to be released.
Det Supt Shepherd said the description had been built up from a sighting of Abbie and her abductor outside the main entrance to the hospital. Detectives were carrying out house to house enquiries in the immediate area.
Police said they believed that the uniform worn by the bogus nurse and later found in a hospital lavatory was bought in a local shop: 'If we have found the correct shop then we will soon be able to establish when the uniform was bought.'
Earlier in the day police revealed that they had had more than 100 calls after an appeal for witnesses from as far afield as South Africa. Psychiatric profiling of the suspected abductor's background hinted that she had suffered some personal tragedy in the past. Two psychology experts were yesterday helping the police with this profile. 'We've had a great deal of help from members of the public,' Det Supt Shepherd said. 'They're giving us names of people they think we should be looking at and we're doing that. My first and single priority is the safe return of the baby.
'It's not improbable there is a tortured person close to the woman who has taken the baby. All I can say is please come forward and help us.'
David Edwards, chief executive of the hospital trust, said it was necessary for the baby to be fed frequently - if bottle fed about every four hours. She would also need regular nappy changes: 'The person who has the child ought to observe its colour and breathing and be careful to lay the child down on its side or back, not its stomach.'
Yesterday Tom Sackville, the Health Minister, said it was possible to tag all babies electronically as soon as they are born: 'It is not a question of expense, it is a question of whether midwives and mothers feel that this is appropriate, or over-reacting when the individuals who would embark on such a venture of abducting a baby are relatively few, thankfully.'
Mr Edwards said the hospital had in the past considered security tagging for new born babies but decided that since mothers at the hospital were kept in close contact with their infants it was not appropriate: 'Obviously this will have to be reconsidered as part of our review of security.'
Mr and Mrs Humphries were last night said to be staying at the hospital while the police continued the hunt.
Police were yesterday continuing their hunt for missing three-year-old Rosie Palmer - but admitted the chances of finding her alive were 'diminishing by the minute'. Rosie disappeared on Thursday after leaving an ice-cream van where she went to buy an ice-lolly near her home on the coast at Hartlepool, Cleveland. She was wearing red-and-white check shorts and a white T shirt with a daisy on the front. About 100 police plus local volunteers, tracker dogs and a helicopter have stepped up their search.
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