Kidnap baby's mother tells of hoax agony: Karen Humphries, now reunited with her daughter Abbie, wonders how malicious callers could be so cruel. Simon Midgley reports

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The Independent Online
HOAXERS who phoned the police claiming that they had or knew who had abducted four- hour-old baby Abbie Humphries from a Nottingham hospital maternity ward, caused her mother Karen untold agony, she says today.

Mrs Humphries, 32, told the Daily Mirror 'the hoaxes made me really angry. I just can't understand how anyone could be so cruel. I can't understand what they get from doing that.'

Early this month a distressed man claiming to be the abductor's husband made six calls to Central Television claiming to be Gary from Gloucester, whose wife had taken the baby. His calls came after an appeal by John Stalker, former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, at the end of his programme Crime Stalkers.

At the time Mrs Humphries and her husband Roger, 33, were reported by police to be 'on their knees' waiting for news of their daughter.

Mrs Humphries also says that when she went into hospital the main story on the news was of the disappearance of Rosie Palmer, the three-year-old from Hartlepool, who had gone missing from home. When the news came that she had been found dead, Mrs Humphries feared that Abbie had suffered the same fate.

'It was just awful. It was a totally different set of circumstances. But it brought it very close to home. My thoughts were for Rosie Palmer's mum. I felt an affinity for her . . . I thought that Abbie could be found dead just as Rosie had been found dead. I dreaded that she'd be dumped somewhere or found in a dustbin.'

Recalling the early days of the abduction, Mrs Humphries said: 'The nights were awful at first because I was up all night, wandering around the house.

'I kept doing odd things like sitting in the bath in the middle of the night, just to relax and for something to do.'

Her husband Roger, meanwhile, was chain-smoking in the garden. Eventually the couple decided to spend a night apart to break their routine.

Mr Humphries went to stay in a relative's caravan, and went with friends to a country pub.

Mrs Humphries said: 'I had a quiet night in with Sue and we sat there and said 'You can guarentee that if something is going to happen it will happen tonight because Roger is not here - it would be panic stations.'

Mrs Humphries went to bed at about 11.30pm. She did not hear the phone ring at 2.29am. When she was woken, she rushed to the phone to hear Det Sgt Mick Roberts say: 'I think we've got her.'

(Photograph omitted)