Woman convicted of assaulting baby son is pregnant again

2012-07-03 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Melinda Marshall (26), the woman who was convicted last year of seriously assaulting her baby son, leading to his eventual death, is pregnant again.

Marshall and Bradley Connor, the father of baby Michael, were found guilty last year of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Michael — who was three months old at the time of the assaults — died blind and a quadriplegic in the Avril Elizabeth Home in Johannesburg on October 16 last year.

Gert Scheepers, Marshall’s lawyer, told regional magistrate Frans Booyens yesterday in argument in mitigation of sentence that she is about three months pregnant. He said outside court he only recently learned of the pregnancy.

Marshall, who has two sons aged four and five with her husband, Diederich, was 17 when Michael was conceived.

Booyens confirmed yesterday that both parents were only 18 when the assaults on their baby began.

This means they are not liable for the prescribed minimum sentence of 10 years for serious assault on the grounds of their youth.

Connor (26), baby Michael’s father, married the mother of his four-year-old daughter in October 2010.

Both Scheepers and MacDonald Khumalo, Connor’s lawyer, argued that their clients’ youth and the fact that they have other children to care for are reasons for more lenient sentences.

But prosecutor Carina Coetzee dismissed these reasons as invalid, and said neither had yet expressed proper remorse for what they did.

Probation officer Themba Mjonondwane testified that a correctional supervision sentence was permitted under the law for both parents, but he believed it would not be a suitable sentence for such a serious crime.

Members of Women and Men against Child Abuse expressed shock when Marshall, in answer to a question by her lawyer, could not remember the birth dates of either of her living children.

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