Judge: Baby Samantha died painfully

2013-10-02 14:38
Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Adriaan Netto. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The baby of Adriaan Netto and his girlfriend died a painful death at the hands of her parents, a judge said on Wednesday.

A couple convicted for the rape and death of their 10-month-old baby girl were sentenced on Wednesday to 18 years in prison each by the.

Judge Majeke Mabesele gave Adriaan Netto, 37, and his 34-year-old girlfriend a total of 18 years behind bars.

They received four years each for culpable homicide, three for child abuse, and 15 for rape. The sentences for culpable homicide and rape would run concurrently.

Before sentencing the couple in the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, the judge said he had a duty to send out a clear message to communities and parents that violation of children's rights would not be tolerated.

No remorse shown

The couple sat in the dock with their heads bowed as the sentences were read out.

Mabesele said they had shown no remorse for the child's death.

"It is evident she died a painful and undignified death at the hands of her parents. With the seriousness in nature of the crime, society will look to the courts to dish out harsh sentences. I'm mindful that reasoning should be above emotions to avoid sentencing in anger," he said.

Mabesele said the couple had faced life sentences but he had taken into account their personal circumstances.

Although the court had a duty to impose the harshest sentence, he had to consider their two other children.

"I don't agree with the argument raised by the State on the other children being well taken care of. These children should be raised and guided through life by their parents," he said.

‘Long-standing child abuse’

On 18 September, Mabesele found the couple guilty of culpable homicide, child abuse, and the rape of their 10-month-old baby girl.

Mabesele found that while the couple had not murdered the child, as charged, their neglect and abuse made them culpable for the baby's death in March last year.

"[I] conclude that the deceased sustained bodily injuries while under the care of her parents," the judge said.

Testimony by Netto and the woman that they did not know how the baby was injured was not true.

"[The] injuries suggest long-standing child abuse," Mabesele said.

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