Baby Samantha lived a short and tragic life which eventually ended at the hands of the people who should have loved and protected her: her parents. The court heard about the abuse that the little girl suffered while she was living with her parents. When Samantha and her twin brother were born, Samantha had to remain in hospital because she was ill. Her mother had been drinking and smoking heavily while she was pregnant. Her parents never visited her in hospital and when she was discharged, she was given to caregiver Bettie Lubbe because Samantha’s mother was overwhelmed by the burden of taking care of twins.
When she died, the body of the little girl showed signs of a long period of abuse including old scars and bruises. The court listened to evidence of repeated anal penetration. Lea Booysen, another woman who once cared for baby Samantha spoke of a disturbing incident at her home. Samantha’s parents had visited Booysen with their children. When Booysen’s elder daughter tried to change Samantha’s dirty nappy, her father pulled Samantha away saying he would change his daughter’s nappy himself. He left with Samantha’s mother and headed for their own house where they changed Samantha before returning to Booysen’s house.
In March last year, Booysen witnessed the couple’s bizarre reactions to the death of their daughter. It is reported that her father punched the headboard of their bed several times in anger and frustration at the death of the child he had often called by many vulgar names. Her mother, who was drunk at the time, held the baby and danced to songs by Luther Vandross. She begged her baby to wake up but Samantha did not respond. The mother then placed Samantha’s twin brother on top of her dead body, telling him to give his sister a goodbye kiss.
On Wednesday, a Gauteng court sentenced Samantha’s parents to 18 years behind bars for child abuse, rape and culpable homicide. They were convicted last month. In mitigation of their sentences, both convicts cited child abuse in their own lives which led to severe depression and alcoholism. Her father’s lawyer argued that any number of things could have penetrated Samantha’s anus, there was no evidence that it had been a penis. Right up until the sentencing, Samantha’s parents denied any responsibility for their daughter’s injuries and her subsequent death.
*Samantha’s parents not named to protect her surviving siblings.