A 29-year-old woman who stole two children at Ashaiman has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in hard labour by the Ashaiman Circuit Court.
Elizabeth Rockson, alias Janet, was convicted on her own plea after she pleaded guilty to two counts of child stealing.
The court presided over by Mrs Agnes Opoku Barnieh, sentenced her to eight years on each count, both to run concurrently.
Guilty with explanation
On May 6, this year, Elizabeth took off with an 11-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl who were the children of her neighbours at Tsinagbe, a suburb of Ashaiman.
When she was arraigned, Elizabeth pleaded guilty with an explanation but that was changed to a plea of guilty by the court after her explanation.
She told the court that the mother of the 11-month-old girl asked her to take care of her daughter while she (mother) attended to her chores.
Elizabeth said she was about to travel so she asked the 11-year-old boy to return the baby to her mother, only to realise that the two children had followed her to the transport terminal, so she decided to travel with them.
In sentencing her, the judge said she took into consideration her earlier plea of guilty and the fact that the children had been found and returned to their parents, as well as the police indicating that she was a first- time offender.
Police Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Akwasi Ahenkorah Afrifa, told the court that the complainants in the case, Ms Tracy Addai and Sandra Ijeme, were traders residing at Tsinagbe in the Ashaiman municipality.
He said Sandra and the convict lived in the same house while Tracy resided a few metres away from them.
ASP Afrifa said at about 6p.m. on May 8, 2020, Tracy took her 11-month-old daughter (named withheld), to the convict to take care of her while she attended to her chores.
The convict, he said, was later seen playing with the baby and the 11-year-old son of Sandra in the neighbourhood.
The prosecutor said on the same day at about 9 p.m, both complainants started looking for their children but could not trace them.
DSP Afrifa said because the two children were earlier seen with the convict, they started searching for her but to no avail.
The prosecutor stated that calls made to the contacts of the convict were not successful, and on May 9, 2020, the complainants reported the case to the Ashaiman Police.
On receiving the report, the police mounted a search for Elizabeth and on May 15, 2020, she was arrested at Ashaiman.
According to the prosecutor, when she was interrogated, she confessed to the crime and stated that she had taken the children to her hometown near Dzodze in the Volta Region, claiming they were safe and well.
The prosecutor said she led a team of police personnel to Tsiyinu, a village near Afife in the Volta Region, where the children were rescued.