Cuburne killer's sentencing postponed

2015-07-31 16:15
Katlego Nkuna at his sentencing proceedings for the murder of 3-year-old Cuburne Van Wyk (Jenni Evans, News24)

Katlego Nkuna at his sentencing proceedings for the murder of 3-year-old Cuburne Van Wyk (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Johannesburg - The man found guilty of the murder and kidnapping of 3-year-old Cuburne van Wyk last year will have to spend one more week in custody while the judge deliberates a suitable sentence.

"I very much would have liked to give the sentence right away, but I would like to pause," Judge Gerald Maluleke told Nathaniel Katlego Mpoku, 26, on Friday in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting at Palm Ridge. He postponed the case to August 7.

Prosecutor Annemarie Smith had asked Mpoku be put in jail for life, because the court had a duty to maintain law and order and Mpoku had shown no remorse.

Van Wyk disappeared on August 6 last year from Reiger Park. His charred remains were found on a mine dump in the area three days later.

He was in his underpants and had also been strangled.

Smith said the fact he could not show remorse meant the possibility of rehabilitation could not be taken into account.

"It's clear from the parents he was raised in a good home. He knew what was right and wrong," said Smith to murmurs of approval from friends and family of the little boy, including his mother Lezelle.

"One must be slow to write off completely the prospect of rehabilitation in young people," the judge said.

Earlier, a police psychology professor had recommended in-prison educational programmes, as well as further exploration into the possibility of paedophilia.

Two of Mpoku's previous convictions were for stealing from his parents to buy drugs.

His defence counsel Lumka Qoqo said Mpoku was a person who wanted to make good of himself, and the fact he took drugs could not be ignored as a mitigating factor. She cited previous court findings saying this could diminish a young person's responsibility.

She said when Mpoku was first arrested, as a minor, he never received rehabilitation and asked "who knows" what kind of people he was exposed to while detained after the theft.

"Of course it's going to be different, because he is a person who needs more intervention. It can be done," she said.

Van Wyk's family and friends left disappointed, as they had hoped to know what his punishment would be.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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