A 29-year-old woman from Aussenkehr, accused of murdering her six-month-old son by throwing him on the ground, thereby fracturing his skull, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder on Monday before Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen.
Priscilla Daukeline Stuurman answered not guilty through an interpreter after prosecutor Taodago Gaweseb put the charges to her.
It is alleged by the State that Stuurman intentionally killed Stiaan Cidio Stuurman by hitting his head on the ground, causing his skull to fracture, leading to his death a day later.
According to the summary of substantive facts in the indictment, on 23 December 2019, the accused expressed to witnesses she will kill the victim and refused to breastfeed the infant.
It is further alleged that during the evening hours of the same night, she fractured the baby’s skull by hitting his head multiple times on the ground, whereafter she reported to neighbours that she murdered the infant.
The victim died the next day due to multiple intracranial bleeds caused by the assault on him.
Her legal aid appointed lawyer Milton Engelbrecht confirmed the plea and read a Section 115 statement into the record in which the accused denied the assault and said she had no intention whatsoever to harm or injure the infant.
“At the time when I realised what had happened, I was in complete and utter shock. I can only state to this Honourable Court that the incident is a tragic result of an unforeseen event, which occurred on that fatal night and something that I am extremely remorseful of and find extremely difficult to cope with every day of my life,” Stuurman stated in her explanation.
According to her, the incident happened while she was busy breastfeeding the child and stood up to smoke outside.
It was very dark in the room and during that time, I stumbled because of the alcohol that I was consuming.
The victim then fell out of my arms on the sand surface.
“I picked up the victim and lay him outside and ran to the house of Lena Orr for help,” she explained.
Orr has in the meantime passed on.
One of the State witnesses Estina Hanse told the court yesterday that Stuurman did not want the child and regularly left him abandoned for hours, and that she often refused to breastfeed him.