Loretta Cooke at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court. Photo: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Johannesburg - A woman accused of faking her own pregnancy and attempting to steal an unborn child boasted on Facebook about being pregnant months before the alleged attack.

Loretta Cook is on trial for murder and attempted murder in the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, for allegedly slicing open Valencia Behrens with a blade in January 2012.

Behrens bled to death, but the child survived.

On Tuesday, the head of the SAPS Investigative Psychology Unit, Brigadier Gérard Labuschagne, testified about a report he made on the case.

He emphasised that he had not personally performed a psychological examination on Cook, but was reporting on the information available to him, coupled with case studies that he said indicated the alleged attack was premeditated.

In his report, he attached pictures of Facebook updates made by Cook in which she wrote a message to her unborn child.

“Maybe you’ll be like me in that you’ll see the beauty of living life freely to make your own choices when you’re older because of God’s grace,” read one line of the message uploaded on October 21, 2011. She signed the message off with “Love, Mommy”.


Labuschagne said the case seemed to be an example of a “non-traditional child abduction, more specifically a caesarean kidnapping”.

He said such offenders experienced personality-related issues and not psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices or seeing things. “Your personality is the core of who you are. It affects your ability to function in life,” he added.

The trial continues.

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The Star