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‘They have not found peace’

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“A few days later he committed this heinous act and the family continues to suffer grave emotional trauma.”

FOR THE family of 23-month-old Kutlwano Springbok the grief and the struggle to come to terms with the horrifying circumstances surrounding her death are far from over.

The toddler’s mother, Anna Anowar, said yesterday that justice would only be done if her killer, Johannes Moroe, stays behind bars for the rest of his life.

“While I am happy with the outcome of the court case, I cannot find it in my heart to forgive him for what he did. I am staying in the same house where my daughter was taken from me and I do not feel safe,” said Anowar.

State advocate Keageletse Ilanga, during sentencing procedures in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, indicated that Moroe killed the toddler while on parole for violating a protection order after he assaulted the deceased’s aunt, Christine Springbok, on April 11, 2019.

“A few days later he committed this heinous act and the family continues to suffer grave emotional trauma.”

She added that Anowar was tormented over her daughter’s death, explaining that, according to the victim impact report that was compiled by a social worker, she had “great difficulty” speaking about the incident.

“She is very emotional, crying and blames herself for not being able to protect her child. She has not received any counselling and seems depressed and vulnerable.

“She feels guilty that she fled the house with her two sons and left the two most vulnerable ones at the mercy of the accused.

“She fears and worries what the accused might do if he is ever released.”

She stated that Anowar also had trouble sleeping and experienced nightmares, fear and pain over the incident.

“She struggles to come to terms with the brutality of the crime and the mutilation of her child’s body.”

She added that Anowar’s son, Huzaifa, who ran for help after Moroe attacked his mother, also struggles to sleep in his own bedroom.

“He has nightmares and makes a bed on the floor because he wants to sleep with his mother. Since the incident his school marks have dropped.”

Ilanga added that Anowar was also concerned that her two sons, Huzaifa and Asadullah, are now playing aggressive games and often fought with knives following the incident.

“She is worried about the levels of aggression displayed by Huzaifa. He has been referred to a psychologist for therapy.”

She said other relatives and members of the community continue to experience lingering feelings of shock, anger, disbelief, fear and anxiety over Kutlwano’s death.

“The family is still grieving the loss of the deceased and they have not found peace or resolution.

“Although Kutlwano’s twin brother, Kutlo, does not remember anything about the incident, he regularly asks where his sister is and when she is coming back to play with him.”

Ilanga also highlighted the painful death that Kutlwano had to endure.

“The circumstances surrounding the death of a 23-month-old child, who was still in fact a baby, were horrific. She was kidnapped from the sanctity of her home, her genital organs were removed while she was still alive, and then she was drowned. The pain experienced by this baby is beyond anyone’s imagination. No mother should lose their child in this manner.”

Ilanga believed that even imposing a life sentence seemed to be disproportionate to the brutal manner in which the crime was committed.

“One would imagine that the person who did this should face the same fate as the deceased. The accused should be locked up forever.

“The accused attacked Christine Springbok at her home. He proceeded to attack the deceased’s mother in her home and kidnapped the child from the sanctity of her home, where she thought she was safe.

“The accused gained entry into Anowar’s home through a window while looking for Christine Springbok. When he could not find her, he turned his attention to Anowar and used crude language and threatened to rape her. He then turned his anger towards the baby when he did not get his way. What transpired on the night will forever be tattooed in Anowar’s memory.”

She advised the court that regardless of the number of years spent in prison, the family should be allowed to make representations to the parole board should Moroe ever be considered eligible for parole.

Ilanga indicated that Moroe had several previous convictions including attempted murder, theft, assault, attempting to escape, being in the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and being in the possession of drugs.

“The accused is not a good candidate for rehabilitation and has a propensity to commit violent crimes dating back to 2002. At some stage the accused was released on parole, given suspended and postponed sentences and yet he continued to commit crimes.”

Moroe’s legal representative, advocate Dries van Tonder, stated that apart from suffering from epilepsy and that he had been in custody since April 2019, his client did not have any other substantial or compelling circumstances.

He acknowledged that the crimes committed were of a serious nature and warranted a lengthy prison sentence.

“The personal circumstances of the accused pales in comparison to the seriousness of the offences.”