Woman gets life for cutting out unborn baby

2014-09-27 11:23

A woman convicted of murder for cutting an unborn baby out of an expectant mother’s womb has been sentenced to life in prison.

The Saturday Star reported that Loretta Cook (32) was sentenced at the South Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge yesterday.

Judge Lucy Mailula said Cook could have adopted a child if she so desired but instead chose to lure a heavily pregnant Valencia Behrens to her house in January 2012 and cut her stomach open to steal her baby.

Cook had been faking her own pregnancy at the time.

“It would have been easier to go the adoption route than kill [Valencia] Behrens in such a horrendous way,” she said.

Cook pleaded not guilty to the murder and claimed she did not remember the incident. Mailula, however, said amnesia could not be used as a defence and that Cook had been examined by psychologists who said there was no evidence of mental illness.

“It is not clear if Behrens was anaesthetised but she must have been in extreme pain to have her stomach cut and her womb removed. She was dumped outside and the bin moved nearer to the kitchen, obviously to put her inside ... She was treated like rubbish,” Mailula said.

Cook was also charged with the attempted murder of Behrens’ child who survived.

However, she was not convicted of this as the judge said it was evident Cook wanted to keep the baby alive.

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