Lache Stols, 3, with her birth mother Lara Boer. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA Pictures

Cape Town - She was failed by all the people who were supposed to protect her. Everyone from her father, who saw the abuse, and her mother, who didn’t do more, to the social worker and the police looked away.

In the end, little Lache Stols, 3, died a long and agonising death at the hands of her father’s girlfriend who beat her to death with a belt.

According to defence advocate Inge Levendall, who argued in the sentencing proceedings of her client Anthea Kleynhans, everyone around Lache was culpable for what eventually happened to the child.

She made reference to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

“Lache’s father saw the abuse and didn’t do anything to stop the accused. Her biological mother also didn’t do enough. She was called to come to Cape Town and although she approached the police, who turned her away, she didn’t do more.

“Her paternal aunt took her to the doctor and was told not to return the child home to her father, but she returned the child to avoid trampling on anyone’s toes."

“To date, we don’t know if any social worker was sent to the home or not. The grandmother had her suspicions, but did nothing,” said Levendall.

Kleynhans, 39, beat Lache to death with a belt on January 23, 2012. She admitted the beatings had occurred over a period of four months, when Lache was left in her care by her father Angelo Stols, the accused’s boyfriend at the time. Kleynhans is also facing a charge of child abuse.

Read more: WATCH: Toddler Lache's 'stepmom' found guilty of her murder

Levendall asked for the minimum prescribed murder sentence of 15 years, as opposed to the State’s life imprisonment sentence.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Nadia Ajam called for Kleynhans’s abuse and murder sentences to be separated. She asked the court to prescribe 10 years and life imprisonment.

Ajam referenced an article published in 2009 about child murders. In that article it was stated that 1018 child murders were committed and that 39% of those were of children under five.

More than half that percentage were inflicted on female children.

She said 44.5% of the 1018 was due to abuse and 76% of it was against girl children.

Ajam said that this year 66 child murders were committed and 56 arrests were made. 

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Cape Argus