Cuburne's killer was on parole at the time, court told

2015-07-31 13:20
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 - Reiger Park toddler Cuburne van Wyk’s killer was on parole at the time of the 3-year-old’s killing, the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, has heard.

Cuburne disappeared on August 6 last year and his body was found at a mine dump in Reiger Park on August 9.

On Friday, the little boy's mom Lezelle was supported by family members Andrew and Leonora De Wee, and aunts Fiona and Leanne Phillips.

Mpoku himself sat alone in the dock, his ankles shackled, wearing a red top and blue jeans with a hole in them. He was found guilty of Cuburne's murder on May 21.

Professor Gerard Labuschagne, who heads the investigative psychology unit, said several factors had to be considered to come to a guilty verdict, not just whether there was sexual activity.

Katlego Mpoku's motive for killing Cuburne was probably sexual, Labuschagne testified.

He gave the court some insight into the life of 26-year-old Mpoku, known as ''Chicken''.

He has never got married, did not have a steady girlfriend at the time of his arrest, and supported himself by being a car guard, washing cars and cleaning, which earned him between R60 and R80 a day.

On parole

At the time of his arrest, he lived with his parents and was on parole after being sentenced to six years for a housebreaking.

Labuschagne said Mpoku indicated he never had a problem with his parents. Any punishment he had received had been justified.

Mpoku said he did well academically and had never failed, but his mother contradicted him by saying he had failed Grades 1 and 6.

He enjoyed high school, but dropped out because his parents could not afford the fees and because he was being teased about being poor, he said.

But Mpoku's mother said they did not know at the time that he had dropped out of school when he was in Grade 10, but they approached the school as soon as they found out.

He admitted to drinking, using drugs and stealing. He said he drank alcohol, and stole to support his drug habit.

Mpoku was convicted twice before - in 2006 and 2008 respectively - after his father laid theft charges against him.

‘Regular opportunistic thief’

Labuschagne said he described himself as a ''regular opportunistic thief''.

Labuschagne said this contradicted Mpoku's version of a positive family life.

He said Mpoku had been convicted of luring a minor, who was later found with a ligature to his neck and his body appeared to have been set on fire.

He added that non-family abductors tend to take children for the purposes of sexual crime or murder. Typically, the children were strangers and they tended to be stalked at playgrounds and shopping centres.

Almost half of the perpetrators had a history of trial and incarceration and many tended to be criminally versatile, with their history often reflecting assault, property crimes and drug crimes.

Labuschagne said the risk for re-offending was higher with those with a history of substance abuse.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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