8 Jul, 2015 @ 00:30
3 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: British mother reunited with baby 21 days after Spanish hospital claimed ‘it wasn’t hers’

stacie selfie
REUNITED: Stacie and Anzelika head home at last. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN

A BRITISH mother separated from her newborn baby by a Spanish hospital is finally back home at her Malaga rental property after three traumatic weeks.

Stacie Cottle, 27, has been forced to endure three torturous weeks at the hospital in Torre del Mar, near Malaga, after a paediatrician claimed the baby she brought in for a check-up could not be hers.

She was reunited with her daughter yesterday afternoon after DNA results finally proved she was the mother.

After the Olive Press visited the court dealing with her case to demand answers, she was allowed to finally leave the Comarcal de la Axarquia hospital with baby Anzelika for the very first time.

“I am so grateful for all your help,” she said last night. “This has been the most horrendous month of my life and I have been treated like a common criminal.

“It makes me think twice about ever coming back to Spain.”

The shocking chain of events unfolded after Cottle, a dental nurse from London, arrived in Malaga with her mother and three-year-old daughter Anabella on June 1.

The family stayed in several hotels while looking for accommodation for her mother Veronica to rent in the area longer term, as she hoped to find work teaching English.

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 healthy girl was born, triggering a series of events which turned the family’s Spanish dream into a nightmare.

They took her to hospital for a routine check-up the next day, where the paediatrician immediately claimed the baby did not in fact belong to her.

HAPPY FAMILY: Stacie and mother Veronica outside Velez-Malaga court. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN
HAPPY FAMILY: Stacie and mother Veronica outside Velez-Malaga court. COPYRIGHT OLIVE PRESS SPAIN

She insisted it had actually been born three to five days previously.

“She said ‘it was impossible’,” Cottle 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 police officers were knocking on the door, asking them to return to the hospital for tests.

Upon arrival, baby Anzelika was separated from her mother and placed in the neonatal ward, where she remained, separated from her family, for 20 days, effectively a ward of court.

A second doctor who later 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 was then handed over to Velez-Malaga courts and the national police, who took DNA tests and placed the baby under the care of social services while waiting on the results.

Meanwhile a distraught Cottle was discharged from the hospital, but refused to leave while her healthy baby remained alone inside.

Bizarrely, she was allowed to breastfeed the child once every three hours under doctor’s supervision.

“I was treated like a criminal, with everyone thinking I stole my own baby,” said Cottle, whose father has a PHD from the University of Oxford.

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

“It has been such a confusing time for us, I even brought the placenta to the hospital, which I understand was destroyed.

“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.

The Olive Press then liaised with the police, courts and social services on the family’s behalf, before witnessing the moment Cottle and her daughter walked free from hospital yesterday afternoon at 3.30pm.

“I am so over the moon, but I’m really surprised it is all over so suddenly,” Cottle said last night.

“I’m so grateful, this would never have happened today without the Olive Press’ help.”

“I feel like these three weeks have been stolen from me, the baby has grown so much I was worried she wouldn’t fit into the clothes I bought her.”

However, the struggle is not over yet, as the baby has not been registered as a UK citizen within ten days of its birth. It might 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, who came to Spain hoping to work permanently as an English teacher, 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.

Neither the paediatrician who first claimed the baby is not Cottle’s, nor the second doctor, was available for comment. The hospital hasn’t commented either.

Tom Powell

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  1. this is shameful and disgusting behaviour,
    the paediatrian should be named and shamed, there is no excuse for such ignorance and cruel treatment of a fellow human being, like being in a police state,
    shame on the paediatrician, shame on the hospital, shame on Spain for not rushing to correct this terrible injustice,

  2. Incredible. Incompetent racist Doctors and now no one willing to take responsibility. If I were them I would get out ASAP. Fortunately the Olive Press took an interest.

  3. Please contact Birthrights and Human Rights in Childbirth when you have the time to do so. These are organisations which can help you with taking a legal case onto Spain for their atrocious behaviour towards you and your baby.

    They can also support you and your baby recover from the trauma you have both been through. This episode certainly has the possibility of affecting your mental health significantly good luck and God bless.

  4. So glad to hear of your good news…… Our little pocket of concerned people in Australia have been following your story. It is beyond words to think in this day and age, you and your family have had to go through this hardship. Please take action, as it will make this hospital and the
    professionals that work here think twice about doing this to another family. They have so much power and need to be held accountable for their actions. Again, you are one of the bravest woman to show such grace under fire. Take care and enjoy your beautiful little one xxxxxx olive Press we salute you!!!!!

  5. I am so glad that Ms. Cottle has her baby back. Though things were very bad, they could have gone worse.

    Here in the U.S., the DNA results would have been faked and the baby sold to the pedophile with the closest political friends.

  6. I am so glad you got your baby back. I am so deeply sorry for your troubles. I am sending so much love to you and your family and prayers for your healing and being able to move forward as a family. Shame on Spain and that medical establishment for allowing this. I hope justice will be served so that no other family will be forced to endure this trauma.

  7. The events described in this article do not match with those refered in other media.

    I trust that everyone agrees that babies should be protected by the authorities, although this may entail disadvantages for their parents.

  8. The important thing is that the baby was cared for and protected until they checked that she is his mother.

    I prefer that doctors and nurses report to the authorities the slightest suspicion of cases of kidnapping or abuse of babies. And i´m sure that everybody agrees with me.

  9. While it was upsetting for the mother she was not denied access while inquiry’s were made. The baby was in good hands and being monitored 24hr a day. Someone somewhere had had a doubt and acted on it and in the end it had turned out fine. If the opposite had happened where no one cared and the child was stolen the hospital would get the blame for being uncaring and negligent. Which option do you prefer ?

  10. The sue culture that has come from America is killing a lot of people in hospitals. Also everything is more expensive while the lawyers get rich. It is the wrong way to go unless of course you yourself are a lawyer

  11. Your do-nothing don’t-complain attitude is why the nazi’s dominated germany. its why the fasicsts dominated spain and italy. One day you will be the victim of an injustice, and you’ll discover that broken abused systems populated by bigots and jobsworths will make your life hell for ages.
    And then some plonker critisizes ‘you’ for trying to improve the world.

  12. I did not say complain, I said do not sue. To sue a hospital only means that what it costs them is paid by the taxpayer so basically sue yourself.
    I had a friend that took your advice and it became a crusade to get justice for something he was wronged for. 28 years it went on, well over £100,000 it cost him and ruined his life. He died a couple of months after he won, but he got no compensation for what he spent or 28 years of his life.
    Now if this girl takes your advice she could be fighting it and reliving it for several years, really what is the point. The child was not harmed, it was upsetting and an inconvenience and that is all.
    Life is full of injustices, you can not spend your life chasing them.
    Oh and by “Plonker” are you referring to me ?

    • “…really what is the point.”

      Obviously, the point is that if people would react against those who are in positions of authority who act as if they can do anything they want (“make mistakes,” raise accusations they have zero evidence for, etc., no matter how humiliating or inconveniencing these are), instead of just “letting it go,” perhaps, just perhaps, it might start to sink in that maybe they should think first before doing these things to people. And, maybe, just maybe, employers just might think that they would rather have less toxic and less costly people working for them.

  13. Dear John,
    I am sorry to hear the crusader who tilted at windmills for 28 years. Its a shame he didnt have any friends that could improve his situation. The poor sod was probably surrounded by “friends” who kept telling him to leave it alone, dont bother, dont make a fuss, etc. Good people would have helped him reach a conclusion *much* sooner.
    How do you think a fairer and safer society is reached? by magic? by being polite? No, its through blood, sweat, and tears (thats an expression) from people like me (and your ‘friend’?), who fight the corrupt and the bullies, to make the world a better place for all of us. I will continue, without thanks, but how dare you advise people to not fight for justice.

    And no, plonker was not meant for you. But, if the hat fits…

  14. Looks like we may have to agree to disagree. I am glad the plonker comment was not aimed at me as I find so many on this website descend to insults rather than facts or sensible opinions.

  15. My main worry would be medical oncompetence. If a doctor cannot tell that a woman has recently given birth they should not be trusted to make any diagnosis.
    Telling that the mother and baby are related is harder but, by the same token, so is telling that they are not.
    I am normally impressed by the Spanish hospital system but I would like to avoid this one.

  16. Do doctors or hospitals have the LEGAL right to “arbitrarily” assume the right to enforce the Law?
    Recent Court cases in the USA and the UK say…. NO. Parents have the legal right to accept or reject the doctor & hospitals’ “recommendations” – recent case shows boy taken from UK hospital by parents to another hospital that had equipment/treatment recommended by SPAIN! Parents arrested, boy treated successfully, and the UK’s NHS “graciously” paid the Bill. No one acts like God not even MDs or “politicians” ps – who are the MDs involved – they deserve to be sued or lose their license to “practice” as they still try to do.

  17. I Think that doctors have acted according the legal prescriptions. firstly they have reported to the authorities a possible case of kidnaped baby, and then the doctors have obeyed the judge orders.

    What another thing can be done when there are suspicions about a crime of that kind?.

    Is not necesary to remark that a newborn baby is absolutely defenceless and that is a imperative moral, and legal for everybody the prevention of every mistreatment against them.

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