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

2019-04-02 17:01


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The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has heard explosive evidence about a former couple convicted in connection with the death, abuse and neglect of three-year-old Baby Daniel.

A social worker told the packed court on Tuesday that the child's mother, Maryke Cloete*, and her former lover, Timothy Naidoo, abused drugs and alcohol and that she failed to stop Naidoo when he physically abused the child on more than one occasion.

READ: Man found guilty of murdering baby Daniel, mother guilty of child abuse

Lizzette Botes read a detailed pre-sentencing report prepared on Cloete's behalf.

Botes mentioned that some of the details in her report were omitted to protect the identity of Cloete's other three minor children.

Cloete and Naidoo were both convicted last year. Cloete was found guilty of two counts of deliberate child neglect and Naidoo was convicted of murder and child abuse.

Baby Daniel was killed in 2016 at a house which the former couple shared in Naturena, south of Johannesburg. The autopsy report revealed that the toddler had a broken elbow, broken femur, injured ribs and second-degree burns to 60% of his body. Naidoo, who is not the child's biological father, claimed the child had fallen into a bath of hot water and was found dead the next day.

Botes described Cloete as stubborn child when she was growing up and someone who was not willing to listen to other people, including her lawyer, during the trial.

"She would do as she pleases. She doesn't understand why she ended up in her situation now.

Serious relationships

In addition, it emerged that she struggled as a child to find acceptance among her peers, that she claimed to be misjudged by her family and that she had three serious relationships.

"The first one was when she was in high school, where she was smoked cannabis and drank alcohol with her ex-boyfriend.

"Botes continued that Cloete then dated a man who was the father of two of her children and Daniel for six-and-a-half years.

"She started having a drinking problem. She would become unruly at her parents and would swear at them. At some stage, the father of her two children, including the deceased, would fetch her from bars in the early hours of morning, drunk," she said.

Botes continued that Cloete's experience with drugs such as CAT, began after she started dating Naidoo. They met in Nelspruit and later moved in together in Gauteng, where they smoked drugs together.


They had a daughter together.

Cloete claimed that while dating Naidoo, he subjected her to sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

Naidoo would 'discipline" Daniel and would threaten to deal with the child further if Cloete wanted to intervene.

In one instance, Naidoo broke Daniel's leg and claimed that the child fell from a tree. He would force Daniel to eat his excrement whenever he soiled himself.

Cloete claimed that she was afraid of Naidoo and didn't do anything to save or rescue her child from Naidoo.

She added that she had an opportunity to flee with her four children, but failed to do so.   

The trial continues.     

*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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