A 29-year-old man was arrested by police in Verulam a month after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and brutally murdering his 3-year-old stepchild at Esigangeni in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.According to police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker, the man claimed that he was drunk and not in his "right state of mind" when he allegedly assaulted the victims.READ | Toddler dies after mother allegedly reverses 'not knowing the child was behind the car'Police arrived at his new home at Cottonlands in Verulam on Monday where he was arrested. He was charged with murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and he will appear in the Nongoma Magistrate's Court on Tuesday."It is alleged that on December 10, 2019, a 22-year-old woman, her child and her boyfriend were at their place of residence when an argument occurred."The boyfriend became violent and assaulted the woman. He then slammed the 3-year-old child numerous times on the floor. Even though the mother was crying and pleading for him to stop, he continued assaulting his stepchild with no remorse until the child was unconscious. He left the house immediately after the incident," Naicker said.Quick and decisive responseThe 3-year-old victim and her mother were taken to a local hospital for medical attention; however, the child succumbed to her injuries."When the suspect heard that the child has died and that a murder case was opened, as well as that police at Nongoma were looking for him, he left the area and went into hiding hoping no one would find him. His nightmare became a reality [on Monday] at 03:00, when police officers from Verulam arrived at his new home where he was arrested."KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula congratulated police officers from Verulam for their quick and decisive response that led to the apprehension of the culprit as soon as the information was received.The 2018/2019 National Crime Statistics report shows that murder cases are at their highest level in four years.There were 21 022 cases of murder, which represents a 3.4% increase over the number from 2017/2018.