30/10/2017 07:37 SAST | Updated 30/10/2017 07:38 SAST

Trial Of Couple Who Allegedly Killed Their 3-Year-Old Daughter Set To Begin

The alleged incidents took place between September 2015 and October 2016 in various places. 

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The trial of murder-accused couple Kobus and Louisa Koekemoer is set to begin in the North Gauteng Magistrate's Court in Pretoria on Monday.

They are appearing for the alleged murder of their three-year-old daughter, Poppie van der Merwe. On top of murder, they are also facing two charges of assault with intent to seriously injure, and child abuse of not only Poppie, but also her brother and stepsister.

The alleged incidents took place between September 2015 and October 2016 in various places.

The couple was arrested after their daughter, Poppie, died near Mamogaleskraal outside Brits, in October last year.

Kobus, the stepfather, was arrested first, followed by 45-year-old Louisa.

An application was made for the charges against the Koekemoer couple to be centralised, as the various alleged incidents on the charge sheet had taken place in Brits, Orania, and Hopetown – all with their own court jurisdictions.

It was previously reported that according to the charge sheet, social workers considered removing the children from the accused's care after monitoring and assessing the children's surroundings. Louisa and Kobus then fled Orania with Poppie and her brother in September 2016, moving to Brits in October.

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Poppie was allegedly seriously assaulted on October 25 last year, and died of injuries allegedly resulting from a beating, upon arrival at the hospital.

Kobus was arrested at the hospital after hospital staff alerted authorities. Louisa was subsequently arrested when she could not explain herself to the investigating officer and had different versions of the truth.

"The deceased's body was riddled with bruises and marks. The cause of death: head injuries as a result of assault with a blunt instrument," the investigating officer told the court.

Later, when Louisa made a statement as a State witness against her husband, she said Poppie's stepfather hit Poppie's head against a cupboard the day before her death, adding also that her husband had kicked Poppie in the stomach.