Police silent on visits to Abbie house: Mary Braid reports on claims that officers were persuaded to return to address

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Police refused yesterday to reveal how often they visited the house where the abducted baby Abbie Humphries was found on Saturday, or to discuss how officers failed to recognise the infant.

Inspector David Gilbert, spokesman for the investigating team, said he had 'no remit' to discuss the concerns. He suggested any answers could compromise evidence to be presented in court.

A 22-year-old woman has been charged with abducting Abbie. She will appear at Nottingham magistrates' court today. A man and woman have been released without charge.

Insp Gilbert stuck to an earlier police statement which admitted that officers had previously visited the detached house in Brendon Drive from which Abbie was rescued, two weeks after she was kidnapped. But he refused to reveal how many times. Neighbours say that police visited the house on two previous occasions.

Yesterday, three local women - a neighbour, midwife and childminder - said they had to push the police to make a return visit to the house. Although police were satisfied by explanations offered by the occupants, the women remained convinced Abbie was there. They say they made their own investigations and presented police with enough information to return to the house.

The claims were made in the Sunday Mirror, which offered pounds 25,000 for information leading to Abbie's safe return.

On Saturday, Karen Humphries, 32, and her husband Roger, 33, were full of praise for the police. Officers are annoyed by the doubts now raised about their handling of the inquiry and believe the difficulties of the rare and delicate case are not being appreciated. They insist Abbie's safe return is proof that their strategy was the right one. During the inquiry they relied heavily on personal appeals to the abductors and her relatives and friends and continually emphasised the value of public vigilance.

The Humphries, who also have a three-year-old son, Charlie, spent yesterday with their family and friends. On Saturday night they celebrated Abbie's return with a barbecue.

'They're still walking on the ceiling,' said a police spokesman. 'Now they just want to be left to lead a normal life.'

Several tabloid newspapers are now competing for the Humphries' story of the 15-day separation from their new-born daughter.

Abbie was taken from the maternity wing of the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, on 1 July by a bogus nurse, who persuaded her father to hand her over for a 'routine hearing test'.

Early on Saturday morning, police raided a detached house a mile from the medical centre and recovered the baby. She was safe and well.

At a press conference on Saturday, Mrs Humphries said a special thank-you to the woman who had eventually come forward with the information that led to Abbie. It now appears that the tip-off was perhaps one of a series of approaches made by the same woman to the police.

A charity said last night that it was counselling a woman who wants to abduct and kill a baby.

The Portia Trust, which expects there to be about 20 'copycat' abduction attempts in the wake of the Abbie case, was contacted on Friday by the distraught woman, who confessed to a psychopathic illness which made her want to harm a child.

A spokesman said: 'The woman who wants to kill a child is the first we have had experience of, but we will do all we can to help her. We certainly will not reveal where she lives, or contact the police, since we guarantee to keep confidential all contacts.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'