A 25-year-old father convicted of killing his child has told the Western Cape High Court that he was “heartbroken” over his daughter’s death and still could not believe she was gone.
Eugene Plaatjies was testifying in mitigation of sentence yesterday and said the injuries which led to the death of his baby girl had been an accident.
Plaatjies was convicted of murder, child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in April.
His daughter, three-month-old Anthonique, died at Red Cross Children’s hospital, a day after she was admitted on June 13, 2014.
During the trial, a forensic pathologist testified the child had been “chronically abused”, and had sustained multiple old and new bruises and fractures.
It’s believed Plaatjies had banged the baby’s head against the wall or kicked her in the head.
Acting Judge Nolita Kose dismissed Plaatjies’ version that the baby had fallen off the bed and hit a bench.
Anthonique’s mother, Louise Alkaster, 30, pleaded guilty to child neglect and was give a five-year suspended sentence at the start of the trial.
The accused’s uncle Piet Cupido asked the court for leniency as the accused “has never been in trouble before”.
Social worker Charlene Demas recommended that Plaatjies receive a sentence of direct imprisonment.
“Everyone has the right to life, and that is what he took away from his own child,” she said.
The case was postponed to June 15 for final arguments.