Ashwynne Kortjie, from Bonnievale, a town in the district of Robertson in the Western Cape, was convicted and sentenced for the murder of his 4-month-old daughter. File picture: African News Agency(ANA)
Ashwynne Kortjie, from Bonnievale, a town in the district of Robertson in the Western Cape, was convicted and sentenced for the murder of his 4-month-old daughter. File picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Cape dad, 21, sentenced to 25 years for killing his 4-month-old daughter

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has sentenced a 21-year-old man to 25 years’ imprisonment after he entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State.

Ashwynne Kortjie, from Bonnievale, a town in the district of Robertson in the Western Cape, was convicted and sentenced for the murder of his 4-month-old daughter, Ashmee-Lee Stalleneberg, on November 20, 2019.

Kortjie was looking after his daughter at his home in Happy Valley.

On the morning of the incident, at about 9am, the baby started crying and Kortjie was alone with her.

According to the plea and sentencing agreement, Kortjie said he tried calming the crying child without success.

He placed her on the bed. As she continued to cry, he pushed on her ribs, using both hands and applying pressure. During this time the baby cried even harder than before.

He became frustrated and grabbed the child by her arm, breaking it, while she continued crying.

He then tried feeding her but she did not stop crying.

The constant crying then led Kortjie to hit the baby twice on her chest with his fists.

The baby stopped crying and closed her eyes.

Frightened by his actions, Kortjie rushed to his neighbour to ask for assistance with the baby.

The woman told him to bring the child over to his home; however, when he arrived she said it appeared that his daughter was dead.

The ambulance and police were called and Kortjie was arrested.

Kortjie admitted that at the time of the incident he was of sober mind and knew exactly what he was doing.

The court also heard that he admitted to foreseeing that by hitting his daughter he could kill her and admitted to breaking her ribs and arm.

The post-mortem found the cause of death to be polytrauma, meaning multiple injuries resulted in the death of the 4-month-old.

During sentencing, the court also found Kortjie to be unfit to possess a firearm.

Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Eric Ntabazalila said they welcomed the sentence.

He said child murders have become a scourge within the Western Cape and this has led the NPA to putting a strategy in place which focuses on these murders.

“Ashwynne Kortjie was the father of this child and he was supposed to protect her. He brutally killed the child because she cried. He assaulted her in a callous and brutal manner, ultimately causing her death,” Ntabazalila said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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