4-year-old in extreme pain before death, court hears

2015-11-10 21:13


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Pretoria - Jasmin Pretorius, the 4-year-old girl raped and killed by her uncle, was in extreme pain and struggled before she died, the High Court in Pretoria has heard.

Dr Forunato Beccia, the district surgeon who performed an autopsy on Jasmin, was testifying at the trial of Sarel du Toit.

Du Toit, Jasmin's uncle, pleaded guilty to raping and murdering her at his mother's flat in Brakpan in December 2013.

Jasmin and her older sister were visiting their father Morné Pretorius for the weekend when she was killed. The community searched for her for a whole day before her body was found under Du Toit's bed.

Du Toit and his brother lived with their mother, who was in the flat with Jasmin's sister that night. Jasmin's father was not at home as he was with his girlfriend.

Dr Beccia testified that Jasmin had bruises on her face and inside her mouth and there was also blood in her nose, all of which were consistent with very hard blows.

'Deceased probably battled and struggled'

The numerous scratch marks and bruises on her neck were caused by the fingers of her attacker's right hand.

"The deceased probably battled and struggled and there was more than one action that caused her death," he said.

Dr Beccia told the court that severe injuries to Jasmin's private parts were probably caused by repeated and aggressive penetration. 

"Such a type of injury is definitely very painful and I cannot see that such a person [Jasmin] would be able to sleep [through it] and not struggle.

"One sees this type of injury with, for example, a difficult birth when the mother gives birth to a very big baby... It's severe pain," he said.

Jasmin's mother Sasha Bam testified that her daughter had liked and loved Du Toit very much. She had seen him regularly when she visited her father.

Asked for forgiveness

She said Jasmin was her sister's best friend and Jasmin's death had affected her. She was quiet, in contrast to Jasmin's outgoing, loving and bubbly nature.

Defence advocate Francois du Plessis urged the court not to sacrifice his client on the altar of revenge and argued for a sentence of between 30 and 35 years.

He said Du Toit had admitted guilt and the letters he wrote to his mother and brother shortly after the incident, asking for their forgiveness, showed that he had true remorse.

Annemarie Coetzee, for the State, questioned Du Toit's remorse, because afterwards he told a social worker he merely "played" with Jasmin, which was disturbing, considering the extent of her injuries.

She said his guilty plea was the result of the overwhelming case against him. He was the only person who entered the flat with a key, the child's body was found under his bed and his DNA linked him to semen found in Jasmin.

Coetzee argued that Du Toit's low intellect was not a mitigating factor and supported the view that his chances of rehabilitation were slim and that he was a danger to society.

Accused previously tried to commit suicide

Social worker Mariëtte Nolte said in a report that Du Toit had reportedly been sexually abused by a female friend of his mother at the age of five. He had also reported that a woman for whom he did gardening had sexually abused him at 14.

He had sexual relationships with older men since the age of about 17.

He was always in special classes and left school at 16.

He battled to read and write but was, according to his mother, good with sums.

Du Toit said he used to fall on his head as a child and was in several accidents when he cracked his head, but never went to hospital.

He described himself as aggressive and depressed and said he had previously tried to commit suicide.

Judge Mahomed Ismail postponed the trial to November 13 for sentencing.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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