8 years for baby dumper

2015-06-23 12:18
Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine.

Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Twenty-nine-year-old Nontobeko Ngcobo of Elandskop showed no emotion on Monday as the regional court magistrate, Chris van Vuuren, sentenced her to eight years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of her newborn baby.

He ordered that three years of the sentence be suspended.

Ngcobo pleaded guilty to the charge and admitted in her written plea that she had thrown her newborn child — a boy — into a pit toilet on June 6 shortly after giving birth at around 04:30.

Although it was reported at the time of the incident that the baby was a girl, Ngcobo said in her plea the baby was a boy.

“I wrapped the baby in a duvet and proceeded to the outside toilet near my home and I then dropped the baby into the pit of the toilet in an attempt to end the life of the child,” she said.

She said her mother later went to the toilet and discovered the baby, who was crying. Her mother and a neighbour then called the police, who managed to rescue the baby.

“I am extremely remorseful,” said Ngcobo.

Van Vuuren said it was explained in mitigation of sentence that Ngcobo lives with her parents, a brother and sister. She already has two other children of her own who are aged 7 and 11 years.

She is not the primary caregiver of these children, who are being raised by her parents, but she did financially support them through her employment as a domestic worker.

The father of the newborn baby she attempted to murder had left her and disappeared. He was unaware of her pregnancy.

When she discovered she was pregnant again, Ngcobo’s mother told her she was on her own and that her family would not support her. She felt desperate and alone and had no one to turn to.

Van Vuuren said it was clear that Ngcobo is remorseful now for what she did and that she is likely to be haunted by her action. Any maternal bond between her and the child was also probably broken forever. The baby has been removed from her care.

“It is not clear what her mindset was when she committed the crime but she must have descended into a dark and lonely place to commit such a deed.”

Van Vuuren said he felt sympathy for Ngcobo and had considered whether to impose a wholly suspended sentence on her. However, the aggravating features — including the fact that she had tried to drown the baby in a pit toilet — and the danger of sending the wrong message to the community, made him decide to take a different approach.

He said the only appropriate sentence in all the circumstances was imprisonment.

In his judgment, Van Vuuren commended the policeman, Lieutenant Jack Haskins of the search-and-rescue unit, who climbed into the pit toilet and rescued the child

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  child abuse

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