Cuburne's killer shows no remorse, court told

2015-07-31 15:30
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Johannesburg - The man convicted of killing 3-year-old Cuburne van Wyk showed no remorse for the toddler's murder and previous convictions were no deterrent to him, the High Court in Johannesburg heard in his pre-sentencing proceedings on Friday.

Judge George Maluleke was told statistically, if a man committed an offence against another man involving a sexual element, they had a higher rate of re-offending.

Psychology Professor Gerhard Labuschagne was testifying in aggravation of sentence for Nathaniel Katlego Mpoku, 26, who was found guilty of Van Wyk's kidnap and murder.

The toddler disappeared on August 6 2014 from Reiger Park outside Johannesburg. His charred body was found on a mine dump in the area three days later. He had also been strangled.

Labuschagne testified the child had been found in his underpants, which according to research, indicated a sexual element to the murder. He also testified two suspended sentences for Mpoku for stealing from his parents and a six-year sentence for house breaking had not had the desired effect.

He committed the crime against the toddler soon after being released on parole for the housebreaking sentence, Labuschagne said, indicating it was a reality most prisoners were eventually released on parole.

However, Mpoku's counsel Lumka Qoqo said in all his brushes with the law and his record of drug use, there had been no attempts at treating Mpoku for this.

Chance of rehabilitation

By Mpoku's own admission, he regularly smoked dagga mixed with tablets, but Labuschagne said Mpoku did not describe himself as an addict.

Earlier the court heard Mpoku stole to support his drug use and in trying to help him, his parents had laid two of the charges against him for stealing items from their home. He received suspended sentences for these. It was a housebreaking in Elsburg that got him the six-year sentence.

Mpoku had denied throughout he had killed Van Wyk, saying he last saw him on August 6 after the child had asked him for biscuits.

Labuschagne had recommended in-prison intervention and programmes for his drug use as well as for a prison programme to further explore the sexual aspect of the crime.

''The possibility of paedophilia would have to be explored in more depth while in prison,'' said Labuschagne.

''I am of the opinion the accused poses and continues to pose a risk to children,'' he said.

He also recommended Mpoku be enrolled to complete his education, after he stopped going to school in Grade 10.

Prosecutor Annemarie Smith said: "The chance of rehabilitation is slim, because of his lack of remorse and that he committed the crime while under supervision on parole.''

Labuschagne continued by saying most offenders got paroled, so it was important to note he disregarded parental authority and his parole restrictions.

He said when interviewing Mpoku, nothing about him made him think he was dealing with somebody acting in an age-inappropriate way.

The court will hear final argument after the lunch break.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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