The defence and the State agreed that Jacobs should be detained in a mental institution and not serve time in prison
THE BARKLY West man who was charged with killing a six-month-old baby girl by performing an “exorcism” on her as he believed she was “possessed by demons”, has died before standing trial for murder.
Emmanuel Welcome, 37, who was accused of murdering the baby, Nozipho Caroline Jacobs, on the night of October 11, 2016 by allegedly repeatedly hitting her with, among other items, an electrical wire, stabbing her with porcupine quills and forcing her to drink salt water, has died of illness before his murder trial could start in the Northern Cape High Court.
Welcome apparently told the mother of the child, Evelyn Jacobs, that the baby was “possessed” and the two then attempted to perform an “exorcism” on the child on the night she died. The baby was declared dead on October 12 and a post-mortem revealed that the cause of her death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Welcome made his first appearance in the Northern Cape High Court in June, when the matter was postponed to yesterday as he was “too ill to continue”.
His legal representative, advocate Dries van Tonder, said yesterday said that his client had died on August 12 and that the matter had been concluded. Welcome was HIV positive and had tuberculosis.
Meanwhile, Jacobs has since been admitted to a mental institution after the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court found that she suffered from substance-induced psychosis.
She was charged with killing her baby “by repeatedly assaulting her and bathing her in a mixture of water and Jeyes Fluid”.
During the judgment, Magistrate Veliswa Setyata found Jacobs guilty of murder but said that she should be detained in a psychiatric institution.
“The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder against her. She did not give any plea explanation or render any evidence in the matter. The court finds that the accused did commit the act but that she was psychotic at the time of the incident and therefore cannot be held responsible. The accused could not appreciate the wrongfulness of the act. The charges involve serious violence and the court considers it necessary, and in the interest of the public, that the accused be detained in a psychiatric hospital,” said Setyata at the time.
According to a witness, both Welcome and Jacobs assaulted the baby with various items, including a Bible and a sjambok, after claiming that the child was possessed by a demon.
The doctor who conducted the mental evaluation of Jacobs, Dr Keith Kirimi, said that a panel had examined her and found that she suffered a substance-induced psychotic disorder.
“The panel reached consensus regarding the ability of the accused to follow court proceedings. We found that although the accused was able to follow court proceedings, she was, however, psychotic at the time of the incident. It was found that the accused might have been aware that she was killing something, but the information we gathered was that she was psychotic at the time. The panel also found that she was under the influence of nyaope, a drug that contains heroin, at the time. People who use this substance can become psychotic and they have illusions as well as visual hallucinations,” said Kirimi.
He added that these factors were present at the time that Jacobs was evaluated.
“The accused, during evaluation, described the child as a snake that had the head of a frog. Such illusions are common in users of nyaope. Those are not the pleasant experiences of the drug but rather the side effects.”
The gruesome details of how the baby was assaulted and later died shocked everyone in the court, with the interpreter indicating to the court that she was unable to continue.
The defence and the State agreed that Jacobs should be detained in a mental institution and not serve time in prison.