Woman's 'low IQ led her to sell her child on Gumtree'

2016-03-01 11:09

The woman who allegedly sold her child after advertising him on the Internet hides from photographers under her jacket.

The woman who allegedly sold her child after advertising him on the Internet hides from photographers under her jacket. (Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The woman charged with selling her baby on Gumtree made her “poor” decision because of her extremely low IQ, the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.

Pietermaritzburg clinical psychologist Prishika Pillay testified that after extensive tests, the woman was found to have “very basic” thought processes and did not realise it was illegal to sell her baby online.

“She was not looking at the consequences. Her decision to sell her baby was not thoroughly thought as her reasoning and problem-solving abilities are extremely low,” she said.

The 20-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her child, put her baby up for sale for R5 000 last October. She allegedly needed to pay R25 000 to her former boyfriend, who had paid maintenance believing he was the father of the child.

“The mere fact that she needed R25 000 and sold her baby for a fraction of that amount shows her primitive and unsophisticated problem-solving ability,” said Pillay.

The woman, who is facing a charge under the Human Trafficking Act, pleaded guilty last year to selling her 19-month-old baby in a police trap. The toddler is currently being cared for by the Social Welfare Department.

The woman was neatly dressed at Monday's court proceedings, wearing a white top and maroon and blue scarf. She wept throughout the proceedings.

Pillay said the woman’s low intellectual ability led to her selling the baby on a public platform without thinking she could get caught or that it was an illegal act.

“She equated her baby to an object. From my assessments, she showed no signs of empathy toward her child. When I asked how she felt selling her baby, she said she felt nothing,” said Pillay.

The psychologist added that programmes at the Mental Health Society would assist and support the woman to become a better person. However, State advocate Val Dafel argued that the woman was sound enough to know how to use Gumtree and had made a concerted effort to sell her baby in two separate adverts.

“Society expects severe penalties to be imposed. The most important person here is the baby, who depended on his mother for safety,” said Dafel, calling for the court to take a bold stand.

The woman expressed remorse in a letter to Pillay, saying she wished she could turn back time and get a chance to be with her baby again. However, according to her probation officer’s report, she was “selfish and inconsiderate”.

Magistrate Rose Mogwera adjourned the matter until April 1, when she will hand down sentence.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abuse

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