‘It’s only logical that Mpoku killed Cuburne van Wyk’

Judge Maluleke says Mpoku didn’t dispute some of the crucial evidence placing him directly at the crime scene.

FILE: Earlier, three-year-old Cuburne van Wyk’s family left the courtroom crying. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN"

JOHANNESBURG - The judge presiding over the murder case of three-year-old Cuburne van Wyk has told the High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, that there was strong circumstantial evidence that placed Nathaniel Mpoku on the crime scene and that it is only "logical" that he strangled and set the boy alight.

Mpoku has been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering the child in August after a passerby discovered his body at a dumping site.

Judge George Maluleke says Mpoku didn't dispute some of the crucial evidence that placed him directly at the crime scene.

"There was a witness; you saw a man whom you could not identify carrying a child into the plantation on his shoulders."

The judge says it was impossible for the boy to walk so far to the area where his body was discovered and that it's clear Mpoku carried him and killed him.

Mpoku had claimed van Wyk followed him around begging for biscuits but claimed the boy left with other children.

Judge Maluleke says witnesses who told the court that Mpoku was the last person seen with the boy gave extremely strong evidence.

"Motive or no motive, a child was killed and was burnt. That there was no DNA to link the accused cannot be elevated to above the direct evidence, strong circumstantial evidence, that links the accused with the crime."

His burnt body was discovered at a dumping site at the Ramaphosa informal settlement but Mpoku says he never harmed the boy.

Van Wyk's family says it is relieved the judge found his murderer guilty and says they are hoping for a lengthy sentence.

Father Elroy Petersen says they hope to find some closure now that they know their son's murderer will not walk free.

"If the judge can give him a good sentence that we expect, then maybe we can get closure because at this moment the closure is a bit down."

Mpoku will be sentenced in June.