Baby X: af­ter four years jus­tice served

Judge tells court sen­tence is ‘fair’ while com­mu­nity hopes it will serve as ‘de­ter­rent’

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS - NA­DIA KHAN | IOL

THE mother of abused Chatsworth tod­dler Baby X, who died in 2014, was sen­tenced to an ef­fec­tive 20-year prison sen­tence in the Dur­ban High Court on Thurs­day.

The 34-year-old, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of her sur­viv­ing mi­nor chil­dren, was found guilty of 11 charges. The charges in­cluded as­sault with in­tent to cause griev­ous bod­ily harm, mur­der, and child abuse re­lated to the two other chil­dren. Baby X, 3, of Haven­side, was de­clared dead at her home on Novem­ber 20.

Judge Mo­hini Mood­ley ruled that the sen­tences must run con­cur­rently.

Dr Sibu­siso Nt­sele had pre­vi­ously told the court that the cause of death was “blunt-force trauma fol­low­ing fa­tal child abuse”.

Dur­ing the trial, it emerged that Baby X had been burnt with cig­a­rettes on her pri­vate and other parts of her body, was bat­tered, had chilli pow­der placed in her nappy, was bound with rope, and starved.

The court learnt that her then 11-year-old brother and 8-year-old sis­ter were also vic­tims of child abuse.

Both chil­dren were forced to “hus­tle” (beg) in the Dur­ban CBD.

The woman’s mother, who was also charged with mur­der, child abuse and sex­ual as­sault, died of nat­u­ral causes ear­lier this year, while await­ing trial in Westville Prison.

Judge Mood­ley thanked se­nior State pros­e­cu­tor Ch­eryl Naidu and de­fence ad­vo­cate Mur­ray Pit­man for as­sist­ing her in ar­riv­ing at a de­ci­sion that she thought was fair.

Chatsworth com­mu­nity ac­tivist Bran­don Pil­lay, who was in­stru­men­tal in en­sur­ing Baby X was given a dig­ni­fied fu­neral, shared with the court the com­mu­nity’s shock over the mat­ter.

Ad­dress­ing to the me­dia out­side court, he ap­plauded the sen­tence handed down. “Af­ter four years, jus­tice has been served. I can’t say I am happy, as an in­no­cent child’s life was taken, but this will serve as a de­ter­rent to oth­ers who think they can get away with the abuse of a child.” in Shong­weni on Oc­to­ber 29, 2014.

Her throat had been slit and she suf­fered fa­cial in­juries.

Nkosi and Mat­seke had been on the run for six months be­fore they were ar­rested.

Naidu’s hus­band See­lan, who died in 2016 while await­ing trial, was al­legedly the master­mind be­hind the mur­der.

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