AN 80-year-old nun has become the first person to be officially named as a suspect in the stolen babies scandal.

Sister Maria Gomez has been arrested over a case involving Maria Luisa Torres and her daughter Pilar who were reunited eight months ago after 29 years.

Torres told investigators she contacted Gomez after seeing an advert offering to help single mothers who had become pregnant by another man.

She insists that Gomez, who worked with two Madrid clinics in the 1980s, promised to put the baby in an orphanage until she was able to look after the child herself.

But after the birth Gomez gave the baby to another family and threatened to denounce her and have her other daughter taken away if she complained.

“Her words were: ‘I’m taking this one away and I can take the other one too. And then you’ll go to jail,’” Torres said.

It comes as the first witnesses have also been called to appear before a judge in Malaga.

So far nearly 100 cases of suspected stolen babies have been looked at in a judicial inquiry for the province.

The witnesses include a nursing assistant in Malaga during the 1970s who claims to have seen many ‘strange things’ and has information on a number of doctors.

There are currently more than 1,500 cases across Spain.

Through the collusion of a network of nuns, priests and doctors, the babies were initially taken from mothers deemed to be politically subversive before it evolved into an illicit money-making business that targeted single mothers.

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