De Kock appeared in the Western Cape High Court this week for raping and killing his 10-year-old niece in Manenberg two years ago.
However, it was only in March that De Kock pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Chanelle McCrawl was reported missing on October 19, 2017, after she did not arrive at school.
She went to the back of the house to where the accused lived in a wendy house with his family, looking for her cousins so they could leave for school. However, they had already left with their mother. Chanelle was then allegedly lured in by the accused.
The next day, her body was found wrapped in a curtain and shopping bag at a river near her home in Audrey Court by her grandmothers.
De Kock’s DNA linked him to the murder after his semen was found on Chanelle’s grey school pants.
He claimed that on the day of the murder, he smoked tik and dragged the little girl into the wendy house. She resisted and fell, hitting her head on a brick.
De Kock’s lawyer, advocate Andre Botman, used his client’s guilty plea as a mitigating factor. Judge Salie-Hlophe quickly shot down Botman.
Prosecutor Liezel Scholzel added that his plea of guilt did not necessarily mean he showed remorse. She asked for two life sentences without an option for rehabilitation.
“Considering, however, the callous manner in which he committed the offences and discarded of the deceased’s body before attempting to remove all traces of his involvement before pretending to assist her family in their search for her, one cannot help but wonder if his remorse is genuine,” read the State’s argument.
Judge Salie-Hlophe explained that there were two types of people who pleaded guilty, the ones who were remorseful and the others who had no other option.
Using his client’s 18-month awaiting trial prisoner status as a mitigating factor for a lesser sentence, Botman told the court that De Kock had also used drugs on the day.
Judge Salie-Hlophe quickly dismissed this.
Earlier in the trial, forensic pathologist Mandy Chong testified that the girl’s vaginal injuries were “the worst” she had ever seen. She told the court that McCrawl had suffered blows to her head and a massive tear to her vagina, which caused her to bleed to death and choke on her own blood and vomit.
De Kock’s paternal aunt, who can’t be named for safety reasons, told the court her nephew did not have an easy life. He was orphaned after his father was murdered and his mother went into a coma after suffering a stroke. His 13-year-old brother was also murdered.
“It is not within the De Kock family to have something like this happen. I ask for forgiveness for what he has done to the family,” said his aunt.
Chanelle’s grandmother Gertude Basson told the Weekend Argus she was glad the case was coming to an end. “Although he might get life, we won’t get her back. She was really special. It will be hard to forgive him.”
Sentencing will commence on June 25.