Cape Town mom, friend sentenced to jail for abuse, neglect of 2-year-old girl

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A mother has been sentenced for child abuse.
A mother has been sentenced for child abuse.
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  • The mother of a two-year-old child found with bite and burn marks, bruises and abrasions has been sentenced to five years behind bars.
  • The woman and her long-time friend, Ursula Pace, were charged after the little girl was rescued by resident Deborah van Rensburg on 20 February 2019.
  • The child is in a care facility and doing well.

A Cape Town mom has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for child abuse and neglect after her child, rescued by a local woman, was found with bite and burn marks, bruises and abrasions on her little body.

The then-two-year-old child's physical wounds have since healed and she would be put up for adoption, prosecutor Colleen de Louw said.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect identity of the child, was this week sentenced to five years in jail for child abuse and five years for child neglect, to run concurrently, in the Parow Regional Court after she was convicted in May.

The woman and her long-time friend, Ursula Pace, were charged after the little girl was rescued by resident Deborah van Rensburg on 20 February 2019.

"The child had bite marks on her body as well as bruises, abrasions and burn marks. Police were informed and she was taken for medical attention," Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

The mother and Pace were arrested. After a protracted trial, they were convicted on 28 May.

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Ntabazalila said the two women asked the court to impose a fine as their sentence. The State objected, asking the court to sentence them to a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment.

"They were initially charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and rape but they were acquitted on those charges as there was no direct evidence linking them," he added.

In addition to the prison sentence, the mother was banned from working with children and declared unfit to own a firearm.

Pace was convicted on a charge of child neglect and sentenced to five years in jail. She was also declared unfit to work with children.

According to De Louw, the child was in a care facility and doing well.

"She has completely healed from the physical injuries but still has some things she must work through. The victim will be part of an adoption process soon," she said.

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