The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 24-year-old hair dresser of Lusaka’s Chilenje South to three years’ simple imprisonment for stealing a baby after she admitted committing the offence.

Mary Sakala, who was charged with child stealing, is said to have lied to her husband that she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy.

Particulars of the offence in the matter were that on April 12, 2019, in Lusaka, Sakala stole a child from Memory Kasangali being her mother who had lawful care or charge of the said child under the age of 16.

And when the matter came up before Magistrate Felix Kaoma for plea, Monday, Sakala pleaded guilty to the charge.

Facts in the matter are that sometime in 2016, Sakala met Kasangali (complainant) in Kamwala South when she was living with her cousin, Lillian Shawa.

In the same year, Sakala moved to Mtendere where she got married in 2018.

The facts further stated that to-date, Sakala and her husband do not have a child.

On April 13 this year, Sakala phoned her cousin Shawa and requested for Kasangali’s number.

Asked why she wanted the number, Sakala told her cousin that she wanted to buy clothes for Kasangali’s baby.

On the same day, Kasangali woke up around 08:00 and changed the baby’s clothes.

While doing so, she received a phone call from Sakala, who asked her to go to the roadside, saying she had brought things for the baby.

She left the baby asleep and went to meet Sakala at the roadside, but did not find her.

Kasangali made several phone calls, but Sakala never picked up.

When she rushed back home, she found her baby missing.

After a fruitless search, she reported the matter to police whose investigations led to Sakala’s arrest.

The baby was found at the house of Sakala’s mother in Mtendere.

Investigations revealed that Sakala lied to her husband that she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy.

In mitigation, Sakala asked the court to be lenient because she was taking care of her grandmother.

Passing his sentence, Magistrate Kaoma said he had considered Sakala’s mitigation, but wondered why she was too desperate to have a child when she was still young.

“I have considered your mitigation and that you are a first offender who pleaded guilty. You are still a very young person I wonder why you became so desperate to have a child,” Magistrate Kaoma observed.

Magistrate Kaoma then sentenced her to 36 months’ simple imprisonment from the date of her arrest.