Baby M: Pretoria couple to stand trial in October for abuse, attempted murder of son

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The Pretoria couple charged with the attempted murder and abuse of their then 4-month-old child, known as "Baby M", will stand trial in October.
The Pretoria couple charged with the attempted murder and abuse of their then 4-month-old child, known as "Baby M", will stand trial in October.
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  • A Pretoria couple have been charged with the attempted murder and abuse of their 4-month-old baby known as Baby M.
  • The State has alleged that Baby M had been continuously assaulted since birth. 
  • The accused will stand trial in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in October.

The Pretoria couple charged with the attempted murder and abuse of their then 4-month-old child, known as "Baby M", will stand trial in October.

The accused, who cannot be named to protect the identity of Baby M, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday when their matter was transferred to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for trial.

According to the indictment, which has been served on the accused, they face charges of attempted murder, child abuse and failing to register Baby M's birth.

The accused, who are Baby M's biological parents, were arrested following an incident at their flat in Sunnyside, Pretoria, on 23 October 2020.

READ | Newborn removed from care of Pretoria couple charged with attempted murder of Baby M

Baby M was severely injured during an alleged domestic dispute between the accused.

It is alleged that the father assaulted Baby M and threw him at his mother "like a rag doll".

According to the State, Baby M was hospitalised for several weeks and could have died from the injuries. He suffered several fractured ribs, a broken femur, respiratory failure, and facial injuries.

Baby M's 28-year-old father was arrested shortly after the incident, but the child's then 18-year-old mother was arrested and charged alongside her boyfriend more than a year later.

Continuous assault

While the incident in October 2020 led to the arrest of the accused, the State has alleged that Baby M has been repeatedly abused since birth in June 2020.

According to an amended charge sheet seen by News24, the accused acted in common purpose with each other during the period of 17 June 2020 to 26 October 2020 to assault the victim, causing severe injuries to him which could have resulted in his death.

EXCLUSIVE | Four-month-old Baby M allegedly assaulted continuously since birth by parents

The abusive conduct of the accused toward the victim during the first four months of his life culminated in the incident on 23 October 2020, the charge sheet states.

After being admitted to hospital only three days after the alleged incident, Baby M presented with numerous bruises on his face and all over his body, which were at various stages of healing – indicating that his injuries did not occur as a result of only one incident, the State claimed.

The State further pointed out that the parents aided each other by failing to seek medical attention or assistance for Baby M before his hospitalisation on 26 October.

"Only when it became clear that the victim had suffered serious injuries he could succumb to, did accused two (the mother) request assistance to have the victim taken to hospital for medical assistance."

The State further claimed that both parents failed to provide for Baby M's physical, intellectual, emotional, and social needs, nor did they provide him with a safe environment and proper hygiene.

Baby M's sibling

Last month, News24 also reported that the couple had another baby, which has since been removed from their custody.

The baby girl was born in February, and is being looked after at a place of safety.

READ | Pretoria couple, charged with attempted murder of Baby M, has another baby

One source said there were growing concerns about the baby's safety, which led to a decision to remove her from her parents' care.

Meanwhile, Baby M has not been in the care of his parents since May 2021.

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