Child killer gets 20 years in prison, breaks down in court
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CAPE TOWN: A convicted child killer broke down in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, after he was sentenced to 20 years direct imprisonment.
Judge Nolundi Nyati called Melvin Volkwyn, 40, a “monster covered in candy floss”.
Volkwyn was convicted for the murder of one-year-old Orderick Lucas, on August 25, despite the lack of evidence against him.
Volkwyn, a hairstylist, maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying he had handed Orderick over to his mother, the morning after she was assaulted and sought medical attention.
He, however, admitted to making a “wrong decision” by taking the child to a drug house to buy a mandrax tablet, the day before the toddler’s disappearance.
Orderick’s maggot-infested body was found eight days after his disappearance on March 25, 2019, following extensive community searches in a stormwater drain in Wittebol Street, Eersterivier – metres from his grandparents home.
The discovery was made after children playing in the road removed their ball, which had fallen into the drain.
Due to decomposition, the cause of death remains unknown.
Prior to his death, Orderick and his twin brothers had been placed in the foster care of his maternal grandparents, after a social worker’s investigation into the safety of the children.
Orderick had a broken arm, which his mother Davidene Lucas could not give a satisfactory answer for, had sores around his mouth, and suffered because of Lucas’s drug abuse.
While reading out her sentence, Judge Nyati said Orderick was an innocent, vulnerable, and harmless child, who needed love.
She also stated she was of the view that the State in the matter did not fully apply its mind when charging Volkwyn, as murder is one of the most horrific acts.
“The evidence shows the victim suffered a slow death. Eight days after he went missing, his body was found dumped in a storm water drain. His body decomposed.
“While the forensic pathologist could not determine the cause of death, a wound in the deceased’s neck made her suspect strangulation,” Nyati said.
She said Volkwyn had shown no remorse because, after Orderick’s disappearance, he continued to be friends with Lucas.
During this time, Volkwyn stood in the dock shaking his head and tears streamed down his face.
Nyati said it was in the interest of society for justice to be served, as crimes against women and children are a national pandemic.
Previously, Volkwyn’s defence counsel, advocate Susanna Kuun stated that the community at large had failed Orderick.
Nyati agreed and said: “I agree with the defence. The community failed Orderick. Had they informed social workers of what they knew, this horrific event could have been avoided.
“This calls for communities to be vigilant and report things when it comes to children.
“I agree, the community defied the oath that states: ‘It takes a community to raise a child’,” Nyati said.
She said every person had a right to life and said Volkwyn took this away when he murdered Orderick.
“The accused committed this crime when he was in a position of trust and the mother’s friend.
“The defence spoke about the accused crying. In my view, crying is not remorseful. During the search, he did not tell the truth. Had it not been for that ball, the deceased would not have been found in that drain.
“There is no reason for this court to deter from a lengthy sentence. This court sentences you to 20 years direct imprisonment,” Nyati added.
Volkwyn stood in disbelief and, once he spoke to his lawyer, he broke down immediately, before being taken back to the holding cells by the court orderly.
Speaking to IOL outside court, Lucas said she was not satisfied with the outcome of the sentencing.
“I feel 20 years is not enough. He was just a baby. But, it's better than nothing. He (Orderick) won’t come back.
“I thought like 25 or more years. It’s not that I am disappointed, but he was a baby and he (Volkwyn) strangled him,” Lucas said.
She said, now that the matter has been completed, the family and Orderick can finally rest.