Stepdad in court after death of 3-year-old girl

2016-11-03 16:17
Poppie van der Merwe (Facebook)

Poppie van der Merwe (Facebook)

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Brits - “Thula, Thula,” the women in pink sang outside the Brits Magistrate’s Court where the stepfather of 3-year-old Poppie van der Merwe appeared for her murder.

The court where Willem Kobus Koekemoer, 43, appeared was filled to capacity and when he brought in from the holding cells a man shouted from the public gallery: “Jy gaan vrek, Boetie!” (You’re going to die, Boetie!), Netwerk24 reported.

The prosecutor threatened to have the court cleared.

Poppie died last Tuesday. According to police, it looked like she was kicked to death. The results of the autopsy are not available yet, but police said she had injuries all over her body.

Her mother Louisa Els found her injured child on their farm in Mamogaleskraal outside the town. She was still alive and was taken to hospital where she was later declared dead.

Koekemoer, a handyman, was arrested last Wednesday and appeared in court on Friday on a murder charge. 

He told Magistrate Moses Maswanganyi that he doesn’t have a legal representative yet. 

Court was adjourned until November 17. Koekemoer remains in custody.

Poppie’s older brother has been sent to live with his father Christo van der Merwe, Netwerk24 reported. The couple were never married and had split up two years ago.

Els went to live with her mother in Orania and later married Koekemoer and moved to the Brits district.

“Poppie is with God now where nobody can harm her. We do not know His plan for us,” Van der Merwe said.


Willem Koekemoer in the Brits Magistrate's Court. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Read more on:    crime  |  child abuse

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