The mother of a three-year-old girl who was severely tortured by her parents over a long time and who eventually died from a blow her mother gave her to the head, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

According to a report on the IoL site, Welmarie Smith was also sentenced to an additional 25-year imprisonment by the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) for assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Her former husband, Willem Smith, Nicole’s biological father, was convicted of assaulting the child and he, too, received a 25-year jail sentence for this.

Judge Bert Bam found that while he too assaulted Nicole over a period of time, he had nothing to do with the final death blow to the child’s forehead. A pathologist told the court the child, who weighed 12kg when she died, was emaciated and had 18 different wounds and bruises to her body. This included an array of cigarette burns across her body. She also had a fractured leg for which she had not been treated.

Neither Welmarie nor her husband, from whom she is now divorced, will admit that they had assaulted the child. Bam said it was one of the worst cases of child abuse he had ever seen.

They in fact tortured her over a lengthy period,’ he said.

Full report on the IoL site