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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Baby's return is like a 'lottery win'
Elizabeth and Susanna Rice
Elizabeth, left, safely back with her sister
The couple whose two-day old baby was snatched from a Midlands hospital have described the return of their daughter as being like "winning the lottery."

Baby Elizabeth Rice, one of twin sisters born on Saturday, was taken from a maternity ward at Wordsley Hospital on Monday while her mother was sleeping.

An 18-year-old woman from Dudley, West Midlands, has been charged with kidnap and is due to appear before Halesowen magistrates on Wednesday.

The hospital has apologised to the parents, Richard and Deanne Rice, after it was revealed there were security lapses, but the couple have said they don't blame the hospital.

It's every parent's worst nightmare - it doesn't happen

Richard Rice
Mr Rice told the BBC: "If somebody wants to snatch a baby, snatch a car, snatch whatever and they're determined enough, they'll do it no matter what security you've got in place."

On Tuesday morning, the chief executive of the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, Paul Farenden, admitted CCTV cameras were not working at Wordsley.

He also promised a thorough review of security and announced extra security guards have been positioned on the maternity ward since Elizabeth was taken.

But Mr Rice was just happy to have both his daughters at home after such a traumatic eight hours on Monday.

He said: "It's every parent's worst nightmare. It doesn't happen.

Richard Rice
Richard Rice is 'delighted' to have Elizabeth back
"I couldn't tell you the last incident of someone taking a baby from a hospital, but it's not an everyday occurrence.

"I'm sure that's why it's just a total shock because it's the last thing you expect.

"When you do hear of it, you initially think that it's somebody else's child because it's not going happen to you, of course it's not."

Both parents are overjoyed at having a complete family once again.

Mr Rice said: "It's like winning the lottery knowing she's there and you can see her crying and everyone is telling you it's alright."

Earlier, the couple released a statement through their solicitor thanking the public for helping to find Elizabeth.

The baby has been checked over by doctors prior to being allowed home and is in perfect health.

Three other people, two men and a woman, also questioned over the snatch, have been released by police without charge.

Baby's father, Richard Rice
"If somebody wants to snatch a baby... they'll do it no matter what"
The BBC's Ben McCarthy
"Hospital managers have apologised for not ensuring their daughter's safety"
The BBC's Judith Moloney
"Staff have been told to be extra vigilant"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

07 May 02 | Health
Q&A: Maternity security
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