Mandla Chauke, 29, of an informal settlement in Mamelodi East, pleaded not guilty in the High Court in Pretoria to a charge of murdering six-month-old Tebatso Marry Croche and assaulting her mother, Boikgontsho, in December 2016.
Ms Croche came from Mpumalanga a few days before Christmas that year to visit Chauke and went to stay with him in his shack in Mamelodi with her baby daughter.
The state alleged Chauke had assaulted his girlfriend when she refused him sex.
She left his place early the next morning under the pretext of going out to buy eggs and cigarettes, leaving her baby, who was still sleeping, with him.
She went straight to the community service centre in Mamelodi East where she asked the police for help. She returned to Chauke’s house a few hours later in the company of the police.
According to the state, Chauke told Croche her child was no longer there and her uncle had come to fetch him.
They all left and Chauke gave her money for a taxi. When she contacted her uncle, he denied that he had the baby.
Croche and her uncle both returned to Chauke’s shack, but reported the matter to the police when they found it locked.
According to the state, Chauke was contacted and arrived at the police station, but still insisted Croche’s uncle had taken the baby.
Croche, the police and others then returned to Chauke’s shack and found the baby’s body inside where he had allegedly placed her in a 20 litres bucket with fluid that was possibly urine before closing the lid and placing another 20 litre bucket with water on top.
The baby was rushed to the clinic but was declared dead at arrival, with the cause of her death indicated as consistent with drowning.
The trial was yesterday postponed to Monday for the evidence of a pathologist.