This was the question an outraged Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe asked the lawyer of Carlo de Kock, 34, accused of raping and killing his 10-year-old niece in Manenberg.
Arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing were heard at the Cape High Court on Wednesday.
While Advocate Andre Botma presented his heads of argument looking for a lesser sentence, Salie-Hlophe hammered him, asking him to present “substantial special circumstances” to convince her to deviate from the prescribed two life sentences for the rape and murder of little Chanelle McCrawl in October 2017.
In March, De Kock pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice in the death of the Grade 4 pupil from Edendale Primary School.
“What are the facts in this case, what must I find substantial and compelling that it warrants departure from life?
“Point it out to me,” an agitated Salie-Hlophe insisted.
This was after Botma had referred to a previous case in which the accused was given a lesser sentence for the rape of six victims, where three “lucky ones” managed to escape.
He then asked for a minimum of 23 years behind bars for De Kock.
But the Judge retorted: “I can tell you who is not so lucky: Chanelle. She was raped, murdered and her body dumped unceremoniously on a field like she was a piece of garbage.”
She then made reference to Chanelle’s vaginal injuries.
In April, forensic pathologist Dr. Mandy Chong said of the more than 4000 autopsies she had performed, Chanelle’s vaginal injuries were “the worst” she had ever seen.
She said the child 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.
“Did you see that child’s vagina?” Salie-Hlophe asked Botma. "Were you not in court? You sound like someone who didn’t hear it.”
De Kock sat with his hands over his face and began to cry during proceedings.
Botma then called De Kock’s paternal aunt to the stand.
The woman, who cannot be identified due to another matter in which De Kock is involved, said the accused had a traumatic childhood and had been left orphaned after his father was murdered.
His mother went into a coma after suffering a stroke, and his 13-year-old brother, Collin, was also murdered and his body dumped on a field.
State prosecutor, Liezel Herbst, asked for two life sentences without an option for rehabilitation.
Salie-Hlophe said there were two types of people who pleaded guilty the one who was remorseful and the other who had no other option.
“The accused falls in the second category, he was caught out,” she ruled.
Sentencing has been set for 25 June.
Chanelle was reported missing on 19 October 2017 after she failed to arrive at school.
The next day her bruised and battered body was found wrapped in a curtain and shopping bag at a river near her home in Audrey Court.
DNA evidence linked De Kock to the murder after his semen was found on the little girl’s school pants.
In his guilty plea, he claimed he had smoked tik, dragged Chanelle into his Wendy house and that she resisted and fell and hit her head on a brick.
He said as she lay bleeding, he took off her pants and underwear and inserted his finger into her private parts and he used her pants to wipe away his semen.