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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
'Security still inadequate after my ordeal'
Dawn Griffiths and daughter Alex
Dawn Griffiths' daughter Alex (right) was abducted
A mother whose baby was snatched from a hospital 12 years ago says simple security measures are still being overlooked.

Dawn Griffiths, whose two-day-old daughter Alex was abducted in 1990 for more than a fortnight before being found unharmed, said lessons had still not been learned.

Mrs Griffiths was speaking just hours after a two-day-old girl was taken from the foot of her mother's bed at Wordsley hospital in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

The baby was found safe and well on Monday night after an extensive police search.


It's not fair. It shouldn't be happening, not 12 years later

Dawn Griffiths
Mrs Griffiths, 32, of Middlesbrough, said she was angry such an incident could still happen.

She told BBC Breakfast News it brought memories of her own experiences flooding back.

"It's not fair. It shouldn't be happening, not 12 years later," she said.

"Obviously security has been tightened up, but not enough, because it was allowed to happen and shouldn't have happened."

Tagging inadequacies

Mrs Griffiths and her husband Geoff, endured an agonising wait after a bogus health worker took baby Alex from St Thomas' hospital in south London.

Alex, now 12, was found 17 days later in a cottage in the Cotswolds.

Her kidnapper, Janet Griffiths (no relation), was sent to a psychiatric hospital for four months. She died of cancer in 1994.

As a result of the abduction, CCTV and 24-hour security were introduced on maternity wards across the UK.

Baby tagging has also been adopted in some hospitals as an added precaution, however many hospitals have decided against going down this route because it was discovered that tags could be removed without triggering an alarm.

Wordsley hospital announced on Monday it was about to introduce electronic tagging for all new-born babies.

However, Mrs Griffiths said expensive, high-tech equipment was not necessarily the solution.

Hospital vigilance

She said: "All it needs is someone standing at the doors at visiting times and taking the visitor straight to the bed of the person they will be visiting and introducing them so that they both know each other and everything is ok.

"That just takes time. It's not expensive."

When asked if she thought security guards should be an option, she thought that might be a bit extreme.

She said: "It doesn't have to be a security guard.

Alex Griffiths
Alex Griffiths: 'Posh' security equipment unnecessary
"It could be one of the nurses at visiting times."

Her daughter Alex said she agreed with her mother's proposals.

She said: "It doesn't need the really posh equipment, just a couple of nurses."

Mrs Griffiths said it would take some time for the victims of this latest baby snatch to recover from their ordeal.

"There's nothing I could say to make anything easier for them," she said.

"They have gone through hell and back and they probably can't even realise what's happened just yet.

"It will all be a shock to them, but they should just be thankful they have got both the babies together and just continue with the future and be happy and lucky."

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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Dawn Griffiths lived through every mother's nightmare"

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