Pretoria - Both the biological mother of Poppie van der Merwe, 3, as well as her stepdad were on Wednesday convicted of her murder.
Gauteng High Court Judge Bert Bam convicted Louisa and Kobus Koekemoer on the doctrine of common purpose.
The pair turned on each other and accused each other of the severe blow the child had suffered against her head, which eventually led to her death.
But Judge Bam said it did not make a difference who struck the final blow, the fact remained that Poppie as well as her brother, aged five at the time, were severely abused over eight months, leading up to Poppie’s death in October last year.
He said the one did nothing to prevent the other from assaulting the children and administering the final blow to Poppie’s head. He also convicted the pair of child abuse relating to the boy.
The judge had strong words for the authorities in Orania, ranging from teachers, doctors to social workers, for not acting when they saw the bruises on the children’s bodies over the months. He said they failed to, protect the children and shifted the blame.
The trial was postponed to February 28, for pre-sentencing reports.
Kobus remained stone-faced after the verdict and rushed down to the holding cells after the judge left the courtroom. Louisa wiped the tears from her eyes as she afterwards spoke to her mother and her lawyer.