Baby Daniel's killer gets life in prison, mother handed 20 years for neglect

2019-04-03 15:22


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The man convicted of abusing and murdering his former girlfriend's son, Baby Daniel, in 2016 has been sentenced to life in imprisonment, while the child's mother was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

Judge Collin Matshitse handed down the sentence in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"You have taken the life of an innocent child who was looking at you and seeking protection from you. 

"A short period of imprisonment will defeat the purpose of rehabilitation," Matshitse said.  

Maryke Cloete* was found guilty of child abuse and neglect, while her boyfriend at the time, Timothy Naidoo, was convicted of Daniel's murder in December last year.

Cloete and Naidoo, who is not the child's biological father, were on trial for the murder, abuse and neglect of the three-year-old boy who died in June 2016.

Daniel suffered a broken elbow, broken femur, injured ribs and  second degree burns to 60% of his body. Naidoo claimed that the injuries were due to Daniel falling into a bathtub filled with hot water, and that he was found dead the next day.

A forensic pathologist, however, testified that the wounds on Daniel were inflicted while he was still alive. 

'No compelling circumstances to deviate from prescribed sentences' - State Prosecutor

Prior to the sentencing, State prosecutor Steven Rubin argued that the murder of Daniel, was "out of the ordinary" and that there was no need to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

"We have a 3-year-old boy who is defenceless, we have two parents who are obligated to safeguard the needs of the child – both have failed to do this, and resulted in a horrific death.

"This is out of the ordinary, far beyond what we thought a human being was capable of," he said.

With respect to Cloete*, Rubin argued that she had failed to use any possible interventions provided to her.

ALSO READ: Baby Daniel's mom had opportunity to flee son's killer but failed to do so, court hears

"It's hypocritical for Accused No 1 to say the system failed her, because when social workers came to her home, she lied and told them that everything was fine," he added.

Rubin further questioned Cloete’s conduct when she learnt of the abuse and still chose to stay in a relationship with Naidoo.

"For a mother to sit by while a man makes a child eat his faeces is a thing I cannot understand, on its own, my lord – this warrants imprisonment. she fails to give an explanation on the events leading up to

"Her degree of negligence led to the facilitation to allow Accused No 2 to commit the murder, had it not been for her actions – the murder  would not have taken place," he further explained.

*Maryke Cloete is not the woman's real name. Her identity has been concealed to protect the identities of her three other children.

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