Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A top-flight footballer who confessed to smothering his five-year-old son to death with a pillow while he was in hospital with COVID has been sentenced to at least 30 years in jail.
Central defender Cevher Toktas, 34, who previously played in Turkey’s top-flight Super Lig, told the cops he killed the youngster because he “didn’t love him”.
The centre-back was arrested 11 days after his five-year-old son, Kasim, died at the Dortcelik Children’s Hospital in the city of Bursa in north-western Turkey.
Toktas had taken his son to hospital on 23rd April 2020 with a high fever and breathing difficulties, with the boy and father being placed into quarantine together, as doctors feared the youngster had COVID-19.
Later that day, Toktas reportedly called the doctors, telling them his son was having breathing difficulties. The youngster was rushed to intensive care, but he died less than two hours later, according to local reports.
However, 11 days after the incident, Toktas reportedly went to a local police station and admitted he had smothered his son with a pillow in the hospital room when they were alone.
According to reports, his statement read: “I pressed a pillow on my son, who was lying on his back. I pressed down on the pillow for 15 minutes without lifting it up.
“My son was struggling during that time. After he stopped moving, I lifted the pillow. Then I yelled for doctors to help to draw any suspicions away from me.”
He is alleged to have told the investigators during his initial confession that he had killed the youngster because he “didn’t love him”, saying that he had never loved his youngest son “since he was born”.
The youngster was buried, as can be seen in the images, but prosecutors later demanded an exhumation for an autopsy to be carried out.
In the report prepared by the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Specialisation Department, the official cause of Kasim’s death was given as ‘smothering’.
The case’s final hearing was held at the Bursa 16th High Criminal Court over the past few days.
The court board asked the defendant for his last words, and Toktas stated that he wanted to punish himself for not taking his sick child to the doctor.
He said: “He was sick for 22 days, he was coughing badly, but I didn’t take him to the doctor. I was the reason he got sick, I constantly opened the windows at the house. I could have taken him to a private hospital, I was stingy, I didn’t.”
He added: “I did it because I couldn’t forgive myself. I didn’t think it would be like this. I did not kill my child. I do not accept the accusations.”
Announcing its decision, the court board sentenced the accused to aggravated life imprisonment for the crime of ‘deliberately killing a relative from a lower lineage’.
A life sentence in Turkey is 24 years in prison, whereas an aggravated life sentence is what was introduced to replace the death penalty.
Prisoners sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment can be paroled after serving at least 30 years, or 36 years if given more than one sentence.
It is unclear whether Toktas will continue his sentence in the Bursa E-Type Prison, where he is currently imprisoned, or whether he will be transferred to another prison.