EXCLUSIVE: 'My heart can’t take it': Poppie’s devastated grandmother speaks out

By Jana van der Merwe
16 February 2017

Susan she believes one hundred percent in her daughter’s innocence, but doesn’t want to have anything to do with her son-in-law.

A heartbroken Susan Bothma, grandmother of the slain toddler Poppie van der Merwe (3), poured out her heart to YOU magazine on Thursday.

She spoke about her daughter and son-in-law who will again soon appear in the Brits magistrate court on murder charges.

“I'm not doing well. I was very sick. My heart is not strong enough for all of this,” Susan (67) told YOU.

Susan’s daughter, Louisa Koekemoer (45) and her husband, Kobus (43), have been charged with Poppie's murder. They will appear in the Brits magistrate court next week.

Poppie's stepfather Kobus. Poppie's stepfather Kobus.

The blue-eyed, blonde haired toddler died on 25 October 2016 at a farm just outside the town. She was allegedly kicked to death but the post mortem revealed that she had also suffered other injuries.

Louisa, Poppie's mother. Louisa, Poppie's mother.

Poppie was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

Kobus was taken into custody the following day and Louisa on 15 December. Both of their bail applications were declined.

Susan says that due to the backlash the murder has caused in the community she won’t be attending the court case. “It wrecks my nerves. It’s not good for my health,” she says.

The case has been postponed for further investigation and to determine a date for a high court trial.

PHOTO: Supplied PHOTO: Supplied

“I don’t even want to see him,” she says. “I don’t think of him as family. He is nothing to me. He is just a man who came into our lives and destroyed everything.”

She says that she can only see Louisa, who is being held in a different facility to Kobus, twice a week for 30 minutes at a time. She takes toiletries for her daughter and with the last visit took her a duvet, which correctional officers at first wouldn’t allow her to do.

According to Susan, Kobus has tried to take his life while behind bars on three occasions.

YOU reported that with the couple’s first and last court appearance on 24 January, Kobus had tried to take his life with a blade to his wrist in the police holding cells in Brits.

Susan says the couple don’t write each other letters anymore. She insists that Louisa only kept in touch with Kobus to “get information out of him”. According to Susan, Louisa only gave her children regular hidings when they had misbehaved.

“Little ones are naughty. When they throw food around, they must be taught that it is ugly behaviour. Like any mother she needed to teach them the difference between right and wrong.”

The grandmother says she misses her grandchildren terribly, especially Poppie. “She always sang ‘Kumbaya, My Lord’ to me. I miss that child so much.”

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