Man who killed own child for soiling nappy to be sentenced

2013-10-17 08:31

Sentencing will begin in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday of a man who threw his infant son to the floor of his home several times in a fit of rage because he had soiled his nappy.

John Hendricks (25) of Atlantis near Cape Town, was due before Judge Robert Henney to be handed his sentence.

Henney said on Tuesday he needed time to consider an appropriate sentence.

The trial would have taken the form of a plea bargain agreement, but the judge said the suggested sentence of 18 years for murder was too lenient.

Defence counsel Ken Klopper told the court he had explained the implications of this to Hendricks, who had chosen to continue with the plea-bargaining proceedings, but would leave the sentencing to the court.

The other option had been to convert the proceedings into a fully fledged trial.

The judge warned he did not want Hendricks to later say he had misunderstood his counsel’s advice, or that confusion or nervousness had led him to mistakenly decide to remain with the plea-bargain proceedings.

The circumstances of the case qualified Hendricks for a minimum sentence of 15 years, but Klopper himself pushed the sentence to 18 years, because of the gravity of the matter.

The judge said he had a sentence of 25 years in mind, but he needed to think about it.

Klopper said he had asked Hendricks why a young father of his age would behave in such a monstrous manner towards his own child.

Hendricks had explained that he was unemployed and had alcohol and drug problems.

He is to be sentenced on charges of murder, seriously assaulting the child’s mother and kidnapping her.

On the kidnapping charge, he kept the mother hostage in their home after assaulting her.

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