Cuburne Van Wyk: Family’s journey for closure not yet over

Nathaniel Mpoku who was sentenced to life in prison yesterday plans to appeal his conviction & sentence.

FILE. Convicted killer Nathaniel Mpoku sits in the Palm Ridge Magistrate Court during his sentencing on 5 June 2015. Picture: Aurelie Kalenga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The judge in the trial of a man convicted of killing three-year-old Cuburne Van Wyk has agreed with experts that sexual assault cannot be ruled as part of circumstances surrounding the child's death, just because there is no evidence of such abuse.

Van Wyk died a year ago after he was kidnapped by Nathaniel Mpoku and left at a mine dump in Reiger Park.

Mpoku was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

Judge George Maluleke said the manner in which Van Wyk's little body was discovered, burned with no clothes on, make experts expect that his killer could have first sexually assaulted him.

"The kidnapping of the child for three days, the conclusion is compelling that, 'the likely motive for the incident was a sexual one'."

But Van Wyk's father Elroy Peterson has found it difficult to consider this possibility.

"My son used to go and play with his siblings, two sisters, and I don't know what the problem was. Maybe it was for the fun? We don't know yet."

The family's year-long journey for closure is not yet over, as the defence will file papers for leave to appeal both the conviction and sentence.