Mother Estelle Sadie and her partner Roland Willoughby in the Western Cape High Court. File photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - An Atlantis couple guilty of child abuse were sentenced to three years of house arrest following the death of two-year-old Julene Sadie in hospital in June 2012.

Mother Estelle Sadie and her partner Roland Willoughby appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Presiding Judge Babalwa Mantame sentenced them each to three years of correctional services supervision, saying the couple had shown remorse for their actions.

While handing down the sentence, Mantame said it was clear the abuse of drugs by the couple had played a role in the neglect, abuse and eventual death of the child.

She had considered that both accused were still young, that they had rehabilitated since being in prison and there was opportunity for further rehabilitation.

“They have shown remorse and cannot be written off,” Mantame said.

Julene died on June 21, 2012, with a post-mortem indicating she had died of “blunt abdominal injury and the consequences thereof”.

She had been living with her grandmother Lacretia Sadie after having been removed from the care of her tik-addict mother.

Shortly before her death, she ended up back at Angleby Court, her mother’s home in the the West Coast town of Atlantis, where Willoughby had been living.

Julene’s father, Jonathan Solomons, was initially charged with her murder but the charges against him were withdrawn owing to a lack of evidence.

A while later, Sadie’s boyfriend was arrested for the murder.

The pair were acquitted of her murder but were instead convicted on child abuse charges.

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Cape Argus