Johannesburg - The effective 12-year sentence imposed on convicted child killer Cindy-Lee Jansen for the murder of her 5-year-old son Anthony was a disappointment; she deserved to rot in prison, the boy’s father, Werner Erasmus said shortly after sentencing in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Erasmus battled with his emotions and fought back tears as he and his family took in the sentence of 15 years, of which three were suspended, imposed by high court Judge George Webster.
He had last seen his son three years before he died. “She refused me access to my son, changing her address, phone numbers and boyfriends to make sure we couldn’t find her.”
His aunt, Sonja Erasmus, said they had known that Jansen was abusive towards the boy and reports to social workers in Klerksdorp had yielded no results.
The sentence was too light, for a monster, she said. “She deserves at least two life sentences, and more, in prison for this.”
Jansen and her boyfriend, Marco Barnard, were arrested on the November, 2012, the day of the funeral, for the death of the child who had died in the home they shared with him, and an older and younger sibling.
He died from a brain haemorrhage after being thrown against the wall, hitting his head hard.
A post-mortem found bruises on his body, including his private parts, an indication that he had been beaten heavily several times, and that he had been unconscious several times in the presence of his mother.
There was confusion and anger in the courtroom when Judge Webster sentenced the two to an effective 12 years in jail, causing the defence team to request that the case go to appeal because the judge had not given them a chance to withdraw their plea bargain.
As he gave reasons for the sentence Judge Webster described the case as heinous and said: “They are guilty of a crime that shocked society.”
The mother had failed to protect her child even after various other instances where he sustained injuries and bruises. “She could have ensured he got treatment, to avoid the loss of life.”
Barnard, he said, had witnessed the abuse and even hit the boy for being “naughty”.
“He has seen him being hit with a stick, his head bumped against the floor, and being dragged across the floor.”
Barnard had even hit the boy himself until he fainted, and not only on one occasion, Judge Webster added.
The couple had given, as reasons for the abuse, that Anthony was naughty, but they never sought assistance from professionals who dealt with situations like that, the judge pointed out.
He gave the mother 15 years, instead of the 18 agreed upon during a plea-bargain with the State, and Barnard 12, and not the 10-year sentence negotiated for him.
When the child died, Jansen called Erasmus and said he had choked on bread, and she had kept that lie up for a whole week, said the aunt. “We hope that the Supreme Court of Appeal gives them much, much more than this judge gave them,” she said, adding that Jansen deserved to suffer, for killing that boy “bit by bit”.