‘House of horrors’ dad slits his wrists


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The man accused of abusing his wife and five children in the Springs Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Picture: Werner Beukes

Johannesburg - The Springs father accused of abusing his wife and five children tried to kill himself on Thursday morning by slashing his wrists.

The 36-year-old man had just been denied bail in the Springs Regional Court when he slashed his wrists in the courtroom cells.

Emergency vehicles had to rush to court and once the man was moved to the Springs police station next door, he was then loaded into an awaiting ambulance.

It was not clear what he used to slash his wrists.

Speaking to The Star outside court, a lawyer who initially represented the man and quit because he had not been paid, said he had advised the Legal Aid SA attorney that the man was suicidal and should receive psychiatric evaluation.

During his bail hearing on Wednesday, the man wept in the dock as details of his wife’s sworn affidavit revealed he had repeatedly assaulted her and forced her to have sex with him.

But speaking through his lawyer, Advocate Sog van Eck, he rebuffed his wife’s rape claims, saying the woman “loved kinky sex”.

The kinky sex claim was corroborated by the accused’s relative, Petro Niemandt, who said her granddaughter had informed her that the accused’s wife spent most of her days in her bedroom watching pornography.

But investigating officer Rudolf Jansen maintained that the man’s wife had described him as a violent person and a serial abuser.

In opposing bail, Jansen also told the court that the man had exposed his children to pornographic material.

However, the man denied committing all charges of child abuse, rape, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. In his affidavit, he said he intended pleading not guilty, promising to stand trial and not interfere with the case.

On Thursday morning, however, Magistrate Roy le Roux said the man had “not even come close” to convincing the court that his release would be in the interests of justice.

As he said this, the courtroom erupted in applause.

Citing a medical report on the man’s 11-year-old boy's injuries which detailed injuries all over the child, Le Roux said: “This child has been injured very very seriously and the injury, in the court's mind, is nothing short of torture”.

Referring to the attempted murder charge over the allegations of the boy's treatment, Le Roux said that “the State has an incredibly strong case against the applicant”.

The man also allegedly assaulted his other children - girls aged 16, 4 and 2, and a boy of 1.

Le Roux referred to evidence by police expert witness Brigadier Gerhard Labuschagne, who heads the national investigative psychological section, that the man's behaviour was unlikely to change.

He also criticised the man's affidavit supporting his bail application, saying he had not enabled this to be tested in cross examination because he didn't give evidence, and that he had admitting lying in his statement - perjury - because he lied about the boy's whereabouts when police first searched their home for him.

“It's a false statement under oath,” said Le Roux.

He said the man would not be able to return to his home in New Era, Springs.

The case has caused outrage and a small group protesting against child abuse gathered again outside the magistrate's court this morning for the hearing. “You are a pig,” said one sign.

The magistrate referred to public anger, saying a petition opposing bail with about 3 400 signatures was handed in and the investigating officer had told the court of public threats to harm the man if he was granted bail.

The case was postponed so the man can apply for legal aid and resumes on June 12.

The man was arrested on May 23 after the 11-year-old boy fled to a neighbour's house with visible signs of assault. The neighbours took him home but also called the police who went to the house.

At the house, police found rats everywhere and dirty clothes strewn in every room.

They could not find the boy.

The man, who apparently pretended to be someone else to police, allegedly hid the boy, first under the bed then in the ceiling and later took him to relatives in the Free State where police eventually tracked him down.

The court heard that the man owes R70 000 in unpaid rent and thousands in arrears service charges.

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