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‘I learned from my mistakes’

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The pair will have to remain in prison for at least 25 years before they are even considered for parole

Louisa Koekemoer

LOUISA Koekemoer will be 72 years old before she even has a chance to ever walk the streets outside of prison again, while her husband Kobus’ first chance to leave prison will be at 79.

Their fate was sealed yesterday when Gauteng High Court Judge Bert Bam sentenced each to life imprisonment for poppie’s murder, as well as a further 10 years each for child abuse.

This means that the pair will have to remain in prison for at least 25 years before they are even considered for parole.

Although she cried bitterly while she gave evidence in mitigation of sentence, a stone-faced Louisa, 47 did not shed a tear upon hearing her fate. Her husband Kobus, 44, throughout sentencing sat with his head bowed. He looked totally different with a shaved head and wore shorts and sandals.

Louisa earlier testified in mitigation of sentence.

She said she was grateful when a neighbour in Orania reported the child abuse to the authorities, as she could not do this herself. Louisa maintained that Kobus promised to kill her and the children if she spoke out of the house.

She said she had lost everything due to her arrest and she was even wearing the clothes of a family member, as she had nothing. She last saw her three remaining children before her arrest.

A prison pastor issued a statement to court regarding Louisa in which he said she was now a child of God, who even gave advice to other mothers in jail.

“I think I am an example for my children as I learned from my mistakes,” Louisa meanwhile told the court.

But Judge Bam said neither her tears during the time she testified in the main trial, nor her tears now, impressed him at all.

While child abuse groups displayed pictures of a blue-eyed, blonde Poppie in happier days, this was a far cry from what the court saw in the months leading to her death. These pictures showed a shaven-headed, emaciated child with lifeless eyes.

The judge remarked that if the child was once assaulted and then died, it would have been another story. But Poppie was abused for eight months prior to her death in december 2016.

Poppie’s grandmother, Carla van der Merwe, meanwhile said she was happy with the sentence.