Baby killers cold, remorseless - judge

2013-09-30 22:28
Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Convicted baby killers Adriaan Netto and his girlfriend are cold and remorseless, Johannesburg Judge Majeke Mabesele said on Monday.

"We watched the parents testify. They were cold, but when each witness saw the pictures they [the witnesses] broke down because they once took care of her [the baby]," Mabesele said in the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

The pair were found guilty on 18 September of raping, assaulting, and causing the death of their 10-month-old baby girl.

The 34-year-old woman may not be named to protect the identities of her other children. Both remained in custody.

Personal circumstances

Mabesele listened to the pair's legal representatives as they made pleas for lesser sentences based on personal circumstances. The mother cried as she was asked about her other children, who are under the care of relatives.

"I don't think there are any words to describe how I'm feeling. I feel terrible, it's something that will haunt me for the rest of my life," she told the court.

The judge said their personal circumstances and the problems they faced while growing up were no excuse for the crime they committed.

Prosecutor Riana Williams told the court the woman had shown no remorse.

"The only remorse you have is that you are here and are going to be sentenced," Williams said.

Mabesele said they should both go to jail as their lack of remorse might result in them doing the same to the other children.

"They are a danger to their children and they are not remorseful. Crying is not remorse. The fact that she is crying means nothing to me," he said.

Troubled childhood

William Karam, for 37-year-old Netto, asked the court to be lenient on his client. He said the lack of evidence against his client should be taken into consideration.

"The lack of direct evidence and the incidents of aggression by accused two [Netto] ought to cast them in a different light when it comes to sentencing," he said.

Karam argued that a lack of witnesses and evidence of Netto physically abusing the child should be a factor for mitigation of sentence. He recounted Netto's troubled childhood.

Mabesele and Williams said they were satisfied that relatives were taking care of the other children.

Finding the couple guilty of culpable homicide, Mabesele said on 18 September that while they had not murdered the child, as charged, their neglect and abuse made them culpable for the baby's death in March last year.

Read more on:    adriaan netto  |  johannesburg  |  child abuse

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