Amidst the ongoing #16DaysofActivism for No Violence against Women and Children, Bettina-Ann Coke, an “overcomer” of gender-based violence, shares a harrowing tale of a violent episode that claimed her daughter’s life. During an ordinary Monday morning, chaos unfolded, resulting in the tragic death of her daughter, Adrianne Coke, at the hands of her then-fiancé. As the legal processes continue, Bettina-Ann hopes to offer guidance to others based on her experiences with the police and the legal system.
Bettina-Ann stresses the importance of letting the law take its course for justice to prevail, underscoring her belief in the need for accountability. Recounting the traumatic incident that took place in 2018, she details the brutal attack that left her daughter dead and herself seriously injured, initiating legal proceedings against the perpetrator, Charles Peter Barker.
Barker has a history of violent crimes. He received a life imprisonment sentence for Adrianne’s murder and 18 years for the attempted murder of Bettina-Ann. The family is haunted by Barker’s lack of admission of guilt and absence of remorse, raising concerns about the closure of the case.
Reflecting on the relationship with Barker, Bettina-Ann acknowledges red flags but highlights that they were not victims of abuse. She said his outbursts to the challenges he faced in reintegrating into society after serving time in prison. According to her, improvements in the prison system to better prepare convicts for reintegration are also necessary.
As an “overcomer,” Bettina-Ann shares insights into navigating the legal system as a victim. She advises staying off social media to avoid jeopardising the case and limiting discussions to the police, social workers, advocates, and psychologists. Acknowledging the lack of support for victims and their families, she advocates for a dedicated support person throughout legal proceedings. Bettina-Ann concludes by highlighting the need for a victim list to keep victims informed about the case and the perpetrator, emphasising the importance of support and information throughout the challenging process.
Picture: Facebook / Desrye Steyn Green
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