Johannesburg - The man who skipped bail on the day he was to be handed judgment on allegations that he raped and murdered his 10-month-old baby has been found hiding in bushes.
Police found 37-year-old Adriaan Netto, the father of baby Samantha (not her real name), in a bushy area in Krugersdorp around 1.30pm on Monday and arrested him. He had been on the run for five days.
His arrest came a few hours after he had duped his lawyer, the judge, the prosecutor and the investigating officer into believing that he would hand himself in court on Monday morning. Netto never showed up.
Baby Samantha died at her parents’ Randfontein plot on March 12 last year. An autopsy revealed not only that she was “significantly” underweight but that she had numerous injuries. She had fractured ribs, abrasions on her vagina, cheeks, chest, nose, lip, bruising on the abdomen and a lacerated lung that was filled with blood.
Her liver was also injured and her anus had been penetrated repeatedly.
Netto and his 34-year-old girlfriend, Samantha’s mother, were arrested and charged with murder, rape, assault, child abuse and sexual assault.
Doctors said Samantha’s injuries were so severe that they were normally found on children who had been involved in car accidents.
During the trial, her parents denied seeing her injuries and claimed they did not know who had caused them.
Judgment was supposed to have been handed down last Thursday, but Netto never appeared in court. His girlfriend told the court that Netto had packed his bags and told her he was leaving before they could come to court.
The woman said Netto had told her that if she wanted to go to prison for the rest of her life, she could go alone. He left his cellphone at home.
Judge Majeke Mabesele then ordered the investigating officer to look for Netto. The matter was postponed to September 26.
On Friday evening, Netto called his lawyer, Anneline Roestorf, asking for help in handing himself in.
Speaking on Monday at the Protea Magistrate’s Court, where the matter is being heard, Roestorf said Netto had told her that he was staying at his uncle’s house.
He had asked for her help in turning himself in, and Roestorf then called the judge, prosecutor and investigating officer and asked them to be in court on Monday.
Netto had undertaken to be there by 9am but failed to show up.
Roestorf called his uncle numerous times, but he insisted that Netto had left for court.
An obviously annoyed Roestorf appeared at a loss for words.
“He called and asked for my help in turning himself in, but he is not here. I called him on the uncle’s phone and he was not there. I trusted him to come but he did not. There is not much we can do,” she said.
Netto was seen walking in a park near his uncle’s house in Krugersdorp. And when he saw police officers, he reportedly ran away.
He was pulled out from the bushes where he had been hiding, and is expected back in court on Wednesday. He remains behind bars.