State calls for conviction in Baby Daniel trial as judge questions mother's fitness

2018-12-18 16:10
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Judgment against a couple standing trial for the murder, torture and neglect of Baby Daniel has been reserved in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Judge C Matshitse reserved his judgment against Timothy Naidoo and Daniel's mother, Maryke Cloete, until Thursday.

Baby Daniel was three years old when he died in June 2016 at the lovers' home in Naturena, south of Johannesburg.

The couple sobbed when the gruesome injuries Baby Daniel sustained were detailed in the heads of arguments tabled by lawyers representing the two accused.

READ:  Alleged baby killers: Judgment expected in Baby Daniel matter

The court had to adjourn for a few minutes to allow Cloete, who was crying hysterically, to compose herself.

During the trial it emerged in court that Baby Daniel had 60% burn wounds on his body and arms from boiling water, while sections of his skin had peeled off. He also had severe head injuries and broken bones, a broken elbow and bruises on his face.

After he allegedly tortured Baby Daniel with hot water, Naidoo then told Cloete that: "I f***ed him up for good this time."

Cloete was away when her son was being allegedly abused.


The accused claimed the injuries Baby Daniel sustained were the result of separate incidents including when he allegedly fell off his bike, fell from a tree and accidentally fell into a hot bath. The head injuries were as a result of hitting a sliding door, they claimed.

During arguments, Matshitse questioned the fitness of Cloete as a responsible and caring mother.

"Between February and March in 2016, the child had a broken elbow, after falling from a tree. All the time, Cloete didn't see that the child was injured. She only became aware when Naidoo told the child's biological father and the police that the child had fallen into a hot bath.

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"As a caring mother, it didn't raise any eyebrows in her mind that the child was injured."

The judge also wondered why a toddler would be allowed to go and use a toilet outside the house on his own.

"Is that not neglect?" asked Matshitse.

Three of Cloete's remaining children have since been taken away from her by social workers following Baby Daniel's brutal death.

'She knew the child was going to die'

Prosecutor Steven Rubin called for the pair's conviction based on his injuries.

"The dead don't die, their bodies remain behind to tell us a story of what happened. The child's body is speaking to us. It is telling us what happened," Rubin said.

He said injuries sustained by Baby Daniel were not consistent with a person who had fallen from a bicycle or from a tree.

"It showed of injuries inflicted on the child. He was subjected to long-term abuse that resulted in a loss of life. The mother is denying knowledge of assault against the child. She had a duty not to provide only medical assistance but to report Naidoo to authorities.

"She only became aware of the injuries after the child had died. She had a duty to act. She knew the child was injured. She knew the child was going to die," said Rubin.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  courts

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