A Soweto woman and former police officer could face life in prison after being found guilty of killing her eight-year-old son and trying to kill her 14-year-old daughter.
Sentencing proceedings got under way in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday – just days ahead of the two-year anniversary of the crimes in question. On the morning of 28 January 2018, and in the wake of her husband’s death, the woman put poison in her children’s breakfast.
A while later, when the poison appeared not to be working, she shot them both in their stomachs. Medics managed to save the girl but the boy died.
His cause of death was determined to have been “acute myocardial infarction and cerebral oedema, following alleged organophosphate poisoning and superficial perforating gun shot wound of the abdomen”. Put simply, he died of heart failure and swelling to his brain.
The state is seeking the minimum prescribed sentence for premeditated murder, which is life imprisonment. Proceedings were on Friday postponed, though, after the defence objected to a victim impact statement, deposed to by the woman’s daughter, being handed up. The girl is now expected to be called to court and the case is scheduled to come back before a judge in March. Until then, the woman remains in custody.
The 41-year-old woman was at one stage an SAPS reservist. In 2018, when the crimes took place, she was a member of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department. She has, however, since been dismissed.
She cannot be named because it would identify her surviving child and the Constitutional Court last month confirmed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling that child victims of crime cannot be named.