Namibia: Woman On Trial Over Death of Baby

15 September 2021

A WOMAN accused of killing her six-month-old son in the //Kharas region nearly two years ago says he was fatally injured when he fell out of her arms after she had been drinking alcohol.

This version was given by Pricilla Stuurman (29) in a plea explanation at the start of her trial before judge Claudia Claasen in the Windhoek High Court on Monday.

Stuurman is being prosecuted on a count of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act. The state is alleging that she killed her son, Stiaan Cidio Stuurman, by hitting his head on the ground multiple times at Aussenkehr in the //Kharas region on 23 December 2019.

The boy, who was six months old, died of head injuries at Karasburg State Hospital the next day.

The state is also alleging that Stuurman told witnesses on 23 December 2019 that she was going to kill her son, and that she refused to breastfeed him that day.

Stuurman said in her plea statement she had been breastfeeding her son when she stood up to go outside to smoke. She stated it was dark in the room where she was and she stumbled "because of the alcohol that I was consuming".

When she stumbled, her son fell out of her arms onto the sandy ground, she said.

Stuurman also stated that she had no intention to injure her son, and that she was "in complete and utter shock" when she realised what had happened.

The "incident is a tragic result of an unforeseen accident which occurred" and something she was finding difficult to cope with every day of her life, she said.

Testifying during Stuurman's trial yesterday, medical doctor Haroldt Uahindua said when he carried out an autopsy on Stiaan's body on 3 January last year he found that the boy had three skull fractures.

Dr Uahindua said the boy had a depressed skull fracture at the back of his head, another fracture from the side of his skull across the top to the other side, and a skull base fracture.

In his opinion, a single fall to the ground from his mother's arms would not have caused the three skull fractures which Stiaan suffered, the doctor indicated.

The trial is continuing.

Stuurman is free on bail. She is being represented by defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht.

State advocate Taodago Gaweseb is prosecuting.

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