A WOMAN who claimed to have given birth to 10 babies was never pregnant in the first place, an inquiry has found.
Gosiame Sithole hit headlines when she claimed she gave birth to decuplets at a hospital in South Africa on June 7.
But suspicions soon began to surface after no pictures of the 37-year-old’s babies emerged and the story began to unravel.
Sithole was arrested by police but then released and taken to a psychiatric hospital where she is being supported.
The provincial government of Gauteng has now issued a statement confirming Sithole was not pregnant in the first place.
"It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole has not recently given birth to any babies,” it said.
“It has also been established that she was not recently pregnant."
South Africa’s National Department of Health has also said its own investigation concluded that there is no evidence the children existed.
Meanwhile, the journalist who first reported the story has apologised after it was debunked.
Pretoria News editor, Piet Rampedi, has now said that he is full of "sadness and regret" over his story.
The Sunday Times in South Africa reports that Rampedi has now apologised to colleagues after they were humiliated by his story – which made worldwide headlines, including in the Sun and BBC News.
Independent Online, the media group which owns the Pretoria news, had accused the hospital of medical negligence after being ill-prepared for 10 children being born.
It claimed the authorities were covering up the story – an allegation the hospital and local health authorities dismissed as “false” and “unsubstantiated”.
Aspects of the story still remain murky, in particular how she appeared to be pregnant and if her partner Teboho Tsotetsi was aware of what was happening
The couple already have six-year-old twins and IOL said that they attended the same church as Rampedi, who interviewed the couple with Sithole looking heavily pregnant.
As soon as news emerged she was apparently pregnant with 10 children, donations began arriving, £50,000 from IOL chairman Iqbal Survé.
Their local mayor confirmed the births, prompting other media outlets to report the story but it has emerged he only had the family's word as evidence.
The couple seemed to fall out in the aftermath with Tsotetsi reporting her missing and asking people to stop donations a week later.
In turn Sithole accused him of wanting to benefit financially from the babies, the Pretoria News reported.
It is not clear what actions will be taken in regards to the donations that received to support or if any criminal charges will be brought against her.
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