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Toddler killer gets life

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“Up until today he showed no remorse for his actions.”

JOHANNES Moroe, who was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 23-month-old toddler from Delportshoop, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Delivering judgment in the Northern Cape High Court, acting Judge Alme Stanton concluded that Moroe, 41, was the only person who could have committed the crimes.

“Up until today he showed no remorse for his actions. The deceased (Kutlwano Springbok) was an innocent, defenceless baby. She was the victim of the accused’s violent and brutal acts. The family will have to live with the emotional and physical scars for the rest of their lives,” said Stanton.

She said that no substantial or compelling evidence existed to warrant a lesser sentence.

Stanton added that the community of Rooikoppies, Delportshoop, had also been severely affected and traumatised by the actions of the accused.

“The conduct of the accused warrants the most severe possible penalty.”

Stanton was convinced that Moroe had attempted to defeat the ends of justice when he tied a

4.9 kilogram stone to the toddler and threw her into the Vaal River.

“The accused concealed the body and the murder. The forensic pathologist Dr Lemaine Fouche testified that the wounds to her genital region (her genital organs were removed with a sharp instrument) were inflicted while the deceased was lying on her back with her legs pinned down. She said the deceased arrived at the morgue with a green and blue striped hooded fleece top that contained a stone, which was fastened around her left ankle. She found that the deceased was still breathing when she was thrown into the river and indicated that the cause of death was drowning.”

She was, however, not entirely swayed by the State’s argument that Moroe had removed the toddler’s genital organs in order to “get rid of” the evidence after having raped her.

“There is no direct or circumstantial evidence relating to the rape charge. I cannot find enough prima facie evidence for the commission of the rape.”

Moroe was, however, found guilty on a second rape charge relating to the removal of the toddler’s gentle organs.

Moroe was found guilty of attempting to rape the toddler’s mother, Anna Anowar, and of housebreaking – where he made a forced entry into her home on the night of April 20, 2019, the same night that her daughter was taken.

He was also found guilty of domestic violence and of assaulting the toddler’s aunt, Christine Springbok, by hitting her with his hands and or fists on April 11, 2019.

Stanton pointed out that the evidence provided by Anowar was corroborated by a neighbour, Lenah van Wyk, who saw the knife scratches on Anowar’s neck, as well as a doctor’s report regarding the injuries she sustained when the accused attempted to rape her.

“The police never observed any blood or anything strange following an inspection at Anowar’s house. They also witnessed a hole in the window and noticed that the handle was broken, where a forced entry could have been made.”

She indicated that it was not disclosed to the court what type of DNA evidence was obtained from the two knives that were found in Moroe’s bedroom, a panty that had possible blood stains, and a jacket belonging to Moroe.

“I do not know if it was blood, semen, sweat, urine or skin cells. According to the biology report, the DNA results from the jacket and knives were a complete match to the DNA of the deceased’s blood. The DNA on the panty matched the DNA of the accused. DNA taken under the fingernails of the accused proved to be a combination of the deceased and the accused. I am satisfied that the evidence was properly collected, sealed and was not tampered with in any manner.”

Stanton said that Moroe’s testimony, which claimed that Anowar had stabbed the toddler while he had used her as a shield to protect himself from being stabbed, was contradicted by the forensic pathologist.

“The accused’s version is simply not true and was riddled with inconsistencies. I have no reason to reject the State witnesses as they corroborated each other’s evidence. In my view they were all reliable.”

Stanton believed that a sketch drawn by Moroe led the police directly to the discovery of the body.

“His version that he had merely described the place where he fished is far fetched and untenable when the baby was found in the same vicinity as the details he provided of the site.”

She added that Moroe’s failure to rehabilitate himself after being convicted for previous crimes, counted against him.

Stanton sentenced Moroe to two life sentences for rape and murder, three years’ imprisonment for domestic violence, five years for housebreaking, six years for attempted rape and nine months for attempting to defeat the ends of justice. All the sentences will run concurrently.

Stanton dismissed an application by Moroe for leave to appeal his conviction. She was of the opinion that no other court would arrive at a different conclusion.

“I found the circumstantial evidence submitted to the court was compelling. The application does not meet the standards.”