31/07/2012 12:28 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Jail For Woman Who Stole Newborn In 1987 And Raised Her As Her Own

A woman has been jailed for 12 years after stealing a newborn baby from a New York hospital in 1987 and raising her as her own.

Ann Pettway, 51, pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping when the victim, Carlina White, discovered that she had been removed from the hospital by Pettway when she was just three weeks old.

Carlina was raised by Pettway for 23 years as Nejdra Nance in Connecticut and Georgia. Ann Pettway said ahead of her sentencing hearing that she knew what she had done was wrong but that she would not have taken Carlina if she had got professional help after suffering repeated miscarriages.

She wrote:'Because of my actions so many lives were hurt,' but added that she had raised 'a wonderful bright young woman'.

Jail for woman who stole newborn in 1987 and raised her as her own Carlina's mum Joy White. Pic: PA

While Carlina White was in her care, Ann Pettway was convicted of five crimes and had used cocaine from 1983 to 2005.

Carlina's biological mum, Joy White, told probation officers that her daughter claimed Pettway had once hit her with a shoe, leaving an imprint on her face.

Prosecutors increased their recommended sentence to 20 years on the basis they had discovered new facts about the case and challenged Pettway's defense that she had provided a 'stable, loving and happy home' for Carlina.

Ms White told reporters that Pettway should have 23 years in prison - one for every year she had spent with her daughter. She revealed that she had posed as a nurse to remove Carlina from the hospital back in 1987.

Carlina had said she always had a 'sense' that she did not belong to the family and had begun to make inquiries about her birth - Pettway had told her she was not her birth mother but had taken her on when she was abandoned by a drug addict.

Carlina traced her real mum after finding a picture of herself on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

What a sad story - we hope Carlina and her real mum can make up for lost time.