The mother of three-yearold Poppie van der Merwe yesterday blamed her daughter’s death on her husband, claiming he had slammed the child’s head against a cupboard and kicked her.
Louisa Koekemoer, 47, insisted she had only rarely slapped her children on the buttocks, but that her husband, Kobus, 44, had repeatedly severely assaulted Poppie and a five-year-old boy.
She said she was too afraid of Kobus to do anything or get help when he beat up the children, because she feared it would get worse.
Kobus had often beaten the children with a wooden spoon or his hands for anything they did wrong in his eyes, such as not finishing their food.
He also kicked them in their stomachs or grabbed them and threw them against a couch or table.
Koekemoer said Poppie had accidentally fractured her leg when she fell down stairs, but Kobus did not want to take her to a doctor.
He only took her the next day after she had cried a lot during the night.
She insisted Poppie’s bumps and bruises were the result of Kobus’s assaults and could not explain why the child would have told a teacher she had a black eye because her mother had punched her.
She said things improved when social services at Orania came to talk to Kobus about the assaults, but became much worse when they moved to Brits.
Kobus more than once picked up Poppie and slammed her head against a kitchen cupboard.
This happened a few days before and on the evening before her death, because she was eating too slowly. He also sometimes pushed her head in the toilet and flushed it, saying she should listen when he talked.
Poppie did not want to talk, was confused, could not walk properly and was very sleepy on the morning before her death.
She could see something was wrong, but did not seek help, because she “did not know what to do”. Kobus went out, but when he later returned, he kicked Poppie in the stomach.
She found Poppie lying on the bathroom floor. Her mouth was blue and she was not breathing. She tried CPR, but Poppie was already dead, she told the court.
The trial will continue on December 5. – email@example.com