British mother forcibly separated from baby after Spanish hospital claims it isn’t hers

EXCLUSIVE: British tourist forcibly separated from her baby after giving birth while on holiday in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 7 Jul, 2015 @ 10:56

A HEARTBROKEN British mother claims her new-born girl has been ‘taken’ from her by a Spanish hospital. 

Stacey Cottle outside the hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN
Stacey Cottle outside the hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN

It came after a doctor bizarrely decided it wasn’t her baby, despite the hospital confirming she had given birth.

The dental nurse, who was in Spain with her mother and three-year-old child, has spent two weeks pleading with the authorities to give her new-born back.

The shocking chain of events unfolded after Stacie Cottle, 27, arrived in Malaga on June 1.

She stayed in several hotels while looking for accommodation for her mother Veronica to rent in the area longer term.

Stacie with mother Veronica. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN

But the night after signing a rental contract on a house in Arenas, in the Axarquia region, Cottle’s waters unexpectedly broke two weeks early at 1:30AM.

Half an hour later in the two-bedroom house, a baby girl was born, triggering a series of events which turned the family’s Spanish dream into a nightmare.

Cottle, from East London, took baby Anzelika to the Hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia, in popular seaside resort Torre del Mar, a day later.

However, upon inspection the paediatrician immediately proposed the baby did not in fact belong to her, and had been born 3-5 days previously.

“She said ‘it was impossible’,” Cottle, who previously worked at a private dental clinic, told the Olive Press. “I felt so helpless, I couldn’t believe what they were saying.”

She and her mother promptly left, upset and confused, to return to the new house. But within an hour the police were knocking on the door, asking Veronica, Stacie, her two-year-old daughter Anabella and baby to return to the hospital for tests.

Upon arrival, baby Anzelika was separated from her mother and placed in the neonatal ward, where she still lies separated from her family over two weeks later.

A doctor who performed a medical examination concluded that Cottle had indeed given birth, but, incredibly, not to the baby she brought to the hospital.

The extraordinary case has been handed over to Velez-Malaga courts and the national police, who are currently waiting on the results of DNA tests before taking further action.

Meanwhile Cottle and family remain in limbo, she has been discharged from the hospital but refuses to leave while her healthy baby remains alone inside.

The hospital she hsnt ;eft for over two weeks. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN
The hospital she hasn’t left for over two weeks. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN

“I am treated like a criminal here, they think I stole my baby and everywhere I go in the hospital people are looking at me and talking about me,” said Cottle, whose father has a PHD from the University of Oxford.

“This has been extremely hard on my two-year-old, who is not allowed on the floor Anzelika is on and she has been asking for me and the baby, who she hasn’t seen since the day she was born.

“It’s such a confusing time for all of us, I even brought the placenta to the hospital, which I understand has now been destroyed.

“I also gave them all my maternity documents and now I don’t know where they are either, the language barrier is making it so difficult and I am very isolated.”

“They were asking me if I was from Senegal despite the fact we all have British passports,” she added.

Staff at the hospital however denied any possibility the situation was linked to the fact Cottle is mixed race, or that it was related to the area’s problem with immigrants crossing over from Africa.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with the immigration problem. She is a tourist and that is the only thing which has made it more complicated with regard to paperwork,” said a hospital spokesperson, after numerous requests for comment from the Olive Press.

“She is not being treated like a criminal, everyone is just doing their job and the DNA tests are a formality.

“Nobody in this hospital knows when the results will be back.”

Cottle is only allowed to breastfeed the child once every three hours under doctor’s orders.

She has been advised to speak to a lawyer by the British Consul, but she cannot do so without leaving the hospital, and she refuses to leave her baby there alone at all times of day.

Her mother, who came to Spain with the intention of working as an English teacher after a career teaching in England, is currently still looking for affordable legal help.

As the baby has not been registered as a UK citizen within ten days of its birth, it may take up to a year now before the family can return.

What’s more, after the landlord witnessed them being taken by police on their first night in the new apartment, he decided to evict them.

“I was so excited to start a life here, but not now. We haven’t left this hospital for 15 days,” Cottle’s mother Veronica told the Olive Press.

Cottle is separated from the baby’s father, who the Olive Press understands is aware of the birth but not of the associated troubles.

Spanish social services confirmed they were aware of the case but could not legally comment, while the British consulate in Madrid confirmed it had been in contact with Cottle and had recommended lawyers for her to speak to.

The paediatrician who first claimed the baby is not Cottle’s was not available for comment.


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  1. The Spanish authorities and social services departments are a complete joke ! I know first hand how incredibly hard it is to get your child back from them, how hostile you are treated because you dont speak the language. My advice keep fighting for your baby and get a lawyer as soon as possible. I dont blame you at all for not wanting to leave your baby because if you do you may never see it again. Good luck x

  2. I cannot believe what I am reading. Being a mother myself I can not imagine the pain and stress she is going threw not being able to be with her daughter. How comes DNA tests are taking so long to come back??? And if they think the baby is not hers why are they still letting her breast feed? I really hope she gets to bring her baby back home soon.

  3. This is sooo sad..can only sympathise with the mom n older sis..can the British authorities not intervene & resolve this by reuniting the baby with mother & sis..