'Baby L abuser has not learnt anything'

Judge Coetzee said he is a coward who attacked a defenceless child and robbed the little girl of her life.

FILE: The mother accused of trying to kill her two-year-old daughter cries in the stairwell leading to the holding cells at the Pretoria Magistrates Court, 6 January 2013. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The judge in the Baby L case has described the Pretoria man convicted for abusing his girlfriend's two-year-old child as a violent man who has not learnt anything from his previous convictions.

Judge Nico Coetzee earlier sentenced the 36-year-old to 10 years in jail after earlier rejecting his claims that the baby had fallen down stairs and fell off a washing machine.

The two-year-old, known as Baby L, sustained broken bones and significant internal injuries when she was abused in December 2013.

But the man has been acquitted of attempted murder even after the judge found there was evidence the baby was hit on the head with an object.

He found the mother's boyfriend had also left the child in a bath while he went out shopping and she almost drowned.

Coetzee said although the man had been through the legal system, he still has no intention of changing.

The businessman was previously convicted of assault and malicious damage to property.

Coetzee said he is a coward who attacked a defenceless child and robbed the little girl of her life.

The judge said the should send out a strong message that the abuse of women and children will not be tolerated.

The mother of the girl has been acquitted of all charges.

She testified that she couldn't remember what bruises her child had sustained which the judge said was unsurprising, because she seemingly didn't care about her daughter.

But Coetzee found no evidence that the woman had allowed her boyfriend to assault the child and was probably unaware of the abuse.

Baby L has suffered severe brain damage and is being kept in a place of safety.