Head split with 'severe force': Court hears horrific details of little Tazne van Wyk's final moments

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Tazne van Wyk
Tazne van Wyk
PHOTO: Jaco Marais/News24
*WARNING: This story may upset sensitive readers.
  • Tazne van Wyk's horrific last moments were described in court on Thursday. 
  • She was severely beaten on the head, neck and chest. 
  • Her alleged attacker is on trial, but cannot be named because he is also accused of heinous crimes against relatives. 

The full horror of eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk's last moments, before she was beaten to death, were detailed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday. 

The little girl disappeared outside her house in Connaught Estate, Elsies River, on 7 February 2020.

After a search by volunteers and police for Tazne and the parolee she was last seen with, her body was found in a storm drain next to the N1 highway, near Worcester.

Her left hand had been hacked off.

How safe is your neighbourhood? Find out by using News24's CrimeCheck

The man accused of murdering her faces 27 charges, including multiple rape counts, sexual assault, incest, and desecration of a corpse. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

All Tazne had done was walk a few metres from her parents' home to a spaza shop across the road when she disappeared. 

On Thursday, forensic pathologist Dr Ingrid Herbst testified in the trial of the man charged with her murder that the little girl suffered severe injuries to her head, skull, neck, and chest. 

READ | Tshegofatso Pule: Mastermind Shoba sentenced to life

She was struck so hard that "what was left of her brain" showed bleeding that spread from one side of the inside of her head, to the other.

"It is usually indicative of a quite severe force," Herbst testified, adding that the chance of surviving an injury like that was low. 

The hyoid bone in her neck was fractured in two places, indicating she was probably strangled. 

Tazne van Wyk's family members seated in court
Family members of Tazne van Wyk are seen inside court.
Gallo Images PHOTO: Brenton Geach, Gallo Images

Four of her ribs were fractured and her left hand was cut off. 

She would have been in severe pain. The neck injury is thought to have been the death knell, with the force of hands pushing on it preventing breathing and blood flow. 

She could not say whether Tazne was raped, because her body was severely decomposed when they found her. 

READ | Meghan Cremer's face was so badly disfigured that family identified her by jewellery, mom tells court

"There were maggots in her genital area. We could not tell if she was male or female."

Specialist human biologist Dr Louise Friedling was brought in to testify further on the injuries to Tazne's bones. 

In extremely difficult testimony, she explained that the little girl's pelvic bones had been forced apart from the bottom and inside of the pelvis, and the cartilage had split. 

This is usually caused by a very young girl giving birth, sexual intercourse, or a bottle, because the only way to split the cartilage is by applying pressure to the bladder or vaginal area, she testified. 

The trial continues.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1288 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 6422 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 4471 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 433 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.