Poppie was 'no angel', stepdad testifies in his bail hearing

2016-11-29 10:25
Kobus Koekemoer during his bail hearing. (Thapelo Maphakela, Netwerk24)

Kobus Koekemoer during his bail hearing. (Thapelo Maphakela, Netwerk24)

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Brits - Poppie van der Merwe, 3, could have sustained her horrific injuries while playing with her cousins of four and five, her stepfather claims.

The weekend before her death, the family had visited his brother in Mayville, Pretoria, Kobus Koekemoer, 43, testified in his bail application in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Monday, Netwerk24 reported.

Koekemoer, who is accused of killing Poppie after he allegedly repeatedly kicked her on a farm in the Mamogaleskraal area outside Brits, was denied bail.

Poppie died due to a hard blow to the head.

When asked by prosecutor Advocate Hanna Conradie if he knew how she died, Koekemoer answered: “She stopped breathing”.

According to the autopsy report, the left bottom of her skull was filled with blood and she had several abrasions on her face, chest and thighs.

Koekemoer insisted that he had no idea how she sustained those injuries.

At one stage during the weekend visit, Poppie “cried out in pain”, Koekemoer said.

“Louisa [her mother] and my brother’s wife went to see what was going on.”

According to him, Poppie had injuries on the back of her head and bruises on her forehead.  

Koekemoer said Poppie often played rough and sometimes “bullied” her older brother. 

“Poppie was no angel.”

Magistrate Moses Moswangane said he couldn’t expose Poppie’s brother to such treatment.   

Koekemoer had testified that he’d never assaulted Poppie but admitted that he regularly had given her a hiding, sometimes at the behest of her mother. 

“We punished Poppie by making her sit in a corner.” Sometimes, however, he hit her on her hands with a wooden spoon, Koekemoer said. 

According to him, no one at the Brits district hospital wanted to help him on the day Poppie died.

“I ran into the hospital with Poppie in my arms, turning left and right, but no one wanted to help me.” 

“Is that not because she already was dead?” Conradie asked Koekemoer. 

“I don’t know. I’ve been ‘dead’ and my son as well. They [the doctors] managed to get us breathing again, why couldn’t they do it for Poppie too?”

According to Koekemoer Poppie had stopped breathing three days before the incident as well. "I helped her. Her mother called me and I did CPR.” 

He claimed that Poppie had in the month before her death pretended to be dead or asleep at least 20 times. He’s said he’d been forced to shake her to wake up so that she could start breathing again. 

“There is a history of epilepsy, asthma and heart disease in her family.”

Asked why he hadn’t taken Poppie to hospital, Koekemoer said her mother had told him that she [Poppie] was “Okay”. 

“I trust my wife, she is the last one who will lie to me.”

The case was postponed until January 25.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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