Rochelle Botha and her ex-fiancé, Stefan van Niekerk, were found guilty of the murder of Botha’s toddler, Chevonne Rusch.
The two appeared in the Johannesburg High Court today (Friday) for the court verdict following the two-year-old’s death last year.
The judge argued that Botha failed to fulfill her duties as a parent.
A pathologist who performed the post-mortem examination on Chevonne’s body at the time testified that the two-year-old girl suffered injuries from head to toe. A total of 49 wounds, bruises, abrasions and scars were recorded all over the toddler’s body.
The judge found both Botha and Van Niekerk guilty of abusing and neglecting and murdering Chevonne.
She said that the former couple also found themselves guilty of rape, in which another minor was involved, as well as attempted murder, sexual assault and child abuse.
The civil rights organization Action Society says this case has made it clear that if anyone fails to report abuse or fails to protect an abused child, they are just as guilty as the one who committed the crime.
“Nothing will bring little Chevonne back, and we will never know if she ever felt safe in her short life,” says Ian Cameron, Action Society’s director of community safety.
“She was abandoned by the people who were supposed to care for and protect her.
“The only good that came out of this is that two brutal people were taken off the streets.”
The former couple will appear in court again on February 2 next year when the pre-sentence report will be heard.
- Read more about Chevonne Rusch’s case.