Woman gets life sentence for cutting out unborn baby

2014-09-27 21:20


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - A woman convicted of murder for cutting an unborn baby out of an expectant mother's womb has been sentenced to life in prison, the Saturday Star reported.

Loretta Cook, aged 32, was sentenced at the High Court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge on Friday.

Judge Lucy Mailula said Cook could have adopted a child if she so desired but instead chose to lure a heavily pregnant Valencia Behrens to her house in January 2012 and cut her stomach open to steal her baby.

Cook had been faking her own pregnancy at the time.

"It would have been easier to go the adoption route than kill [Valencia] Behrens in such a horrendous way," she said.

Cook pleaded not guilty to the murder and claimed she did not remember the incident. Mailula, however, said amnesia could not be used as a defence and that Cook had been examined by psychologists who said there was no evidence of mental illness.

"It is not clear if Behrens was anaesthetised but she must have been in extreme pain to have her stomach cut and her womb removed. She was dumped outside and the bin moved nearer to the kitchen, obviously to put her inside... She was treated like rubbish," Mailula said.

Cook was also charged with the attempted murder of Behrens' child who survived.

However, she was not convicted of this as the judge said it was evident Cook wanted to keep the baby alive.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.