Mother of baby 'stolen' from police station denies family kidnap plot

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:13 AM on 21st December 2009

Audrey Nyanor

Safe: Audrey Nyanor was found three days after police gave her to a stranger

The mother of a baby snatched from a London police station has denied her family was involved in a plot to kidnap the child.

It was announced today that the police watchdog is to probe how officers handed over the 18-month-old baby to the stranger.

Detectives spent three days looking for Audrey Nyanor after a mystery woman picked her up from a police station.

Last night, the Ghanaian girl was found alive and well in Harlesden, north-west London, after CCTV images were released of the woman carrying her.

A 31-year-old woman who was with the 18-month-old when she was found was arrested on suspicion of abduction and remains in police custody.

The child's mother, Cynthia Boakye, 36, from Kennington, had been arrested on Thursday for alleged immigration offences and taken with Audrey to Walworth police station. She was later released with no further action to be taken by police.

While there she gave officers the name of Grace Asare, 46, as someone who could look after Audrey - but instead they handed her to another woman using her name.

The family said they believe the abductor must have overheard officers speaking on the phone, but there were reports that the woman who took the child is a friend of Mrs Boakye's.

Police sources said today there were still unanswered questions, particularly over the possible relationship between the alleged kidnapper and the child's mother.

Woman collecting baby Audrey
Woman leaving with baby Audrey

Police CCTV: A mystery woman enters the station (left) and then takes Audrey

But Mrs Boakye hit out at reports her family had plotted the suspected kidnapping, saying: '(Now) everybody will know the truth that we are not criminals, we have not abducted a child.'

Audrey's grandmother Agatha Owusuah, 54, said: 'Cynthia said she wanted to sleep with her tonight but they (the police) said it doesn't work like that.

'She didn't cry. She's relieved she's alive, that's the most important thing. Now she's with social services so at least we know where she is.'

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the incident. All but one have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Cynthia Boakye

Panic: Audrey's mother, Cynthia Boakye

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘While we are pleased to have found Audrey safe and well, we are working closely with colleagues in our Directorate of Professional Standards to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident, to look at how it happened, and to ensure that any lessons are learned.

‘In the meantime, the matter has also been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.’

Officers had mistakenly handed Audrey over to an imposter on Thursday morning claiming to be her aunt. She was not asked for ID.

They realised their error an hour later when the real aunt arrived to collect the girl, sparking a massive hunt to find her.

Two days later, on Saturday, police asked for public help with the search for the toddler and a member of the public reported seeing Audrey at 2pm yesterday.

A Met spokesman said Audrey was found with a 31-year-old woman 55 minutes later in Harlesden High Street.

The woman is being held at a west London police station.

The baby's grandmother Agatha Owsuah said it was ‘great news’ that Audrey was safe and the family was ‘very relieved’.

‘We are very, very happy,’ she added.

‘It is great news.’

Another six people were arrested during the investigation which led to the incident.

One has been released and the other five are bailed to return to south London police stations in February next year.