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Accused’s story ‘ridiculous’

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“The court permitted us to stay together but prevented me from assaulting Springbok. After the interdict was issued, I met with Anowar and we talked.”

THE STATE has described a murder accused’s version of events – where he denies any involvement in kidnapping, raping and murdering a 23-month-old toddler from Delportshoop in April 2019 – as “nonsensical, absolutely ridiculous and implausible”.

The accused, Johannes Moroe, 40, (pictured) testified in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday that he had used the child as a shield to prevent her mother, who was wielding a knife, from stabbing him. In the process the mother, Anna Anowar, stabbed the child.

Moroe has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, rape, murder, attempted rape, housebreaking with the intent to commit a crime, assault, domestic violence and defeating the ends of justice.

Moroe demonstrated to the court how he held the toddler under her armpits, with her back facing towards him, while he swung her to protect himself from the oncoming blows.

He believed that “it was possible” that in the process, the child’s legs “could have spread, then closed again”, whereupon she sustained the injuries to her genitals that were referred to in the post-mortem findings.

Moroe added that he was uncertain where the child had been stabbed.

“My concentration was on Anowar, who was holding a knife. I could not see the blood clearly when I put her (the toddler) on the bed. I remember that the child was injured. There was a substance on my hand. I could not see if it was blood or urine. I arrived at my parental home and saw that it was blood.”

He denied making a forced entry into the toddler’s home in Rooikoppies on April 20, 2019.

He stated that he had “a night of passion”, where he had consensual sexual intercourse and smoked dagga with the toddler’s mother (Anowar).

Moroe related that it was not the first time that he had sexual intercourse with Anowar.

“Christine Springbok, who is my ex-girlfriend, found out that I was having an affair with her sister (Anowar). I could sense that she was angry but she never said anything. Springbok mentioned to me that one day she would catch me out.”

He said he was not aware of any condition in the protection order that Springbok had obtained against him, that prevented him from making contact with Anowar.

“The court permitted us to stay together but prevented me from assaulting Springbok. After the interdict was issued, I met with Anowar and we talked.”

Moroe stated that on the night of the incident on April 20, 2019, he had asked Anowar what “he would receive in return” for assisting her to fix a faulty light bulb in her home.

“She said that when the father of the children sent her money, she would pay me and then we started to kiss.”

He added that after smoking a dagga joint, they kissed each other again.

“I offered to smoke outside and she said there was no need as I could smoke in the other bedroom.

“I entered the bedroom, lit the dagga zol and opened the window so that the smoke would not affect the children.

“While I was smoking she entered the bedroom and asked to smoke. I handed her the zol. I went to sit on the bed and she came to sit next to me. We started to kiss each other and then we had sex.”

Moroe indicated that the “fight” started after Anowar returned to the house after having left to go and buy beer.

“The deceased woke up and was crying. She was naked from the waist down and was only wearing a top. I picked her up and tried to comfort her. I went to stand on the front porch and when her mother approached the house, she started to cry.”

Moroe stated that on a previous occasion, Anowar had left her children unattended for 24 hours, when she locked them inside the shanty.

He explained that Anowar repeatedly asked him whether he had raped the toddler as her child would not cry for no apparent reason.

“This led to the fight. I told her that I had done nothing. Maybe the deceased was upset when she woke up and could not find her mother. I told her to call the police so that they could take over the case.”

Moroe stated that Anowar followed him when he carried the child into the bedroom.

“As I pushed the curtain aside in the bedroom to lay the child down on the bed, Anowar approached me from behind with a knife. It appeared as if she wanted to stab me.

“I lifted the child and used her to block the blow, as Anowar’s hand was moving in a stabbing gesture. In the process she stabbed the child.

“From there I put the child on the bed and she started to cry. We wrestled as I tried to disarm Anower and I managed to push her hand against the wall. After she fell against the wardrobe, I grabbed the knife from the floor and left.”

Moroe said that the two knives that were found in his bedroom were spare household knives that he used to “unscrew things”.

“I do not know how the DNA of the deceased got onto the knives. If I wanted to hide the knives, I would have locked them inside a steel cabinet.”

He explained that he had placed the knives under a pillow for “safe keeping”. “Children usually come to the house to visit my mother.”

He assumed that after he left Anowar’s house, she had removed all traces of blood.

“I remember now that I was delayed after leaving the complainant’s house. Instead of going straight home, I first went to my sister’s house to look for my mother. From there I went to my parental home.”

Moroe insisted that he never informed the police where to search for the child’s body.

“I was asked about the place that I used to visit at the river and where I occasionally caught fish. The first witness testified that they went to search for the child near the river.”

He went on to tell the court that on April 11, 2019 he had “gently slapped” Christine Springbok on her cheek while she was asleep at her home.

“I removed the blanket from the bed and touched her head and face slightly and asked if she was sleeping. I saw her fingers were stiff and gently slapped her cheek to see if she was awake. She jumped up thinking I was maybe fighting or attacking her.

“I told her not to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes because that was when this sickness attacked her. I told her to rather spend the night at my parents house.”

He maintained that he was unaware that Springbok had sustained a blue eye during the incident.

State advocate Keageletse Ilanga stated that Moroe was fabricating tales and concealing evidence.

“The accused placed himself in a predicament when he told the court for the first time yesterday that he picked up the knife at Anowar’s house. This was to explain how his DNA was found on the knife. He had to come up with a story to cover up the wounds sustained by the child when he told the court that she was not wearing any underwear.”

Ilanga pointed out that Moroe’s version of events failed to explain why the toddler’s DNA was found on the second knife that was taken from his bedroom.

“Why would Anowar leave her children alone with the accused in the middle of the night to buy beer, bearing in mind that her youngest were 23 months old?”

She added that no blood was detected at Anowar’s home, even after the police searched the house with the use of sniffer dogs.

“Why would a mother stab her own child in her private parts? The accused was the only person with a reason to take the child. He removed her private parts because he had raped her.”

Ilanga indicated that Anowar would not have invited Moroe into her home knowing that her sister had recently taken out a protection order against him.

“The accused violated the protection order and was guilty of domestic violence.”

She was of the opinion that the fact that the child’s body was retrieved using coordinates that were provided by Moroe, proved to be “damning evidence”.

“The accused was the only person who knew the location where the deceased had been drowned.”

Ilanga also disputed the testimony that Moroe had gone directly to his parent’s home after leaving Anowar’s house on the night of the incident.

“During the time that the police were unable to trace him, the accused kidnapped, raped and threw the child into the river. The accused attached a stone to her body so that the police would not retrieve her.”

The case continues today before acting Judge Alme Stanton.