A Pretoria couple was convicted of killing their two-month-old baby by the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius said Marissa Rudman (36) and Nolan Schoeman (32) would be sentenced in November.
Their son Wade died of a massive blow to the head, four days after being admitted to the Steve Biko Hospital in April 2009. He had a bruised lung caused by a blow to the chest. Most of his ribs and both his arms had been broken. He was covered in bruises and abrasions.
The court accepted the evidence of a nine-year-old boy who testified that he had seen Schoeman punching Wade in the head.
The judge rejected Rudman and Schoeman's denial that they had anything to do with Wade's injuries.
Rudman had discharged the baby from another state hospital two weeks earlier, against medical advice. He was being treated for pneumonia at the time.
Pretorius said she got the impression throughout the trial that Rudman was more upset by Schoeman's treatment of her than by the baby's condition.
She cried every time she testified how Schoeman beat her, which was not the case when she told the court about her baby's condition. The judge said she found it strange that Rudman had cried throughout proceedings, until she warned her the court would rely on facts, not sympathy, to come to a conclusion. There were no more tears after that.
It was also telling that Rudman had refrained from telling the court that she and Schoeman had lived together for another two years after Wade's death, until his bail was revoked.
There was no evidence that Rudman had contributed to the baby's injuries. She was, however, aware of the assaults and intentionally became an accessory by not reporting Schoeman to the authorities, removing the child from his reach, or stopping the attacks.
Although she testified that she was scared that Schoeman would commit suicide should she leave him, she did not appear to care that he was slowly killing their baby.
The only conclusion the court could come to was that Rudman had aided and abetted Schoeman by protecting him.
Rudman cried after being found guilty of murder, but later calmly told the court she had started with a new life, was living with her much younger partner in Sea Point, Cape Town, and had hopes of making money doing promotion work for music concerts.
She told the court she realised she was facing a possible life sentence, but realised running away would not fix anything.
Pretorius postponed the trial to 18 October for pre-sentencing reports. She intended passing sentence early in November.
Schoeman would remain in custody. Rudman was granted R1500 bail.