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Johannesburg - A man accused of raping and killing his daughter didn’t want an autopsy performed on her.
He was so insistent that the baby’s body be cremated without being dissected that he punched an undertaker’s employee.
This emerged in the Johannesburg High Court sitting in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where the 37-year-old man and his 34-year-old girlfriend are on trial for their baby’s murder.
When 10-month-old Samantha* died, she had multiple injuries and bruises on her body. Her ribs were fractured and there was a laceration on her right lung - which was also filled with blood.
The baby also had abrasions on her vagina, and her anus showed signs of having been penetrated multiple times.
While her father said he was distraught and wanted answers as to what had caused her death, he just didn’t want to see his baby’s tiny body cut up, the court has heard.
Testifying in court on Monday, Samantha’s father said he punched the Avbob employee because he had been emotionally unstable and frustrated at the death of his child.
He said he also wanted the baby’s body cremated as it was cheaper.
This was disputed by prosecutor Riana Williams, who told the man he was opposed to the autopsy because he was afraid of what this would unearth.
“You were scared of what we would find if we opened the little body and saw the damage caused over a period of time,” Williams said.
The man denied this.
Dr Jessica Clair Meddows-Taylor, who performed a post-mortem on Samantha, said the baby’s injuries were so severe that she would have been miserable, unhappy and crying all the time.
The father, however, said he had not noticed any injuries.
This was despite the fact that he slept beside Samantha on the same bed and in the same bedroom, while his girlfriend slept with the baby’s twin brother in the lounge.
He said they were told at the hospital that Samantha had colic and he thought this was the cause of her constant crying.
He said he did not harm Samantha, and his girlfriend had been unhappy, moody and miserable since their baby daughter returned from a foster mother’s home to stay with them.
His girlfriend used to shout at their daughter a lot. “She once smacked my daughter on the left hand side of her body,” he said.
The man dismissed as untrue allegations that he once called his daughter “a bitch”.
The court also heard that Samantha’s parents had wanted an abortion, but went ahead with the pregnancy.
Samantha was two weeks old when her parents gave her to a female acquaintance to raise her. When she was three months old, they took her back, only to give her to another woman soon afterwards. They got to know the woman from seeing her buy beer where they lived.
However, they took Samantha back when the woman and her husband wanted the baby’s grant money.
Four months later, paramedics found the baby dead at her parents’ home.
The couple face charges of murder, rape, child abuse, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and sexual assault.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, but may not be named in order to protect the identity of their other children. The trial continues.
* Not the baby’s real name.