‘My son is better off in prison’

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Bridget van Ballo done

INLSA

Bridget van Ballo was emotionally and physically abused by her drug addict son. Picture: Jason Boud

Cape Town - Bridget van Ballo will on Wednesday watch her son being sentenced to a possible three years behind bars after suffering years of abuse at the hands of the 19-year-old drug addict.

Van Ballo reported her son Leeroshe to the police three months ago after he tried to knife her in one of her eyes.

He is in Pollsmoor Prison and will appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the 52-year-old jewellery designer from Mitchells Plain said she was “sick with nerves and slight feelings of regret”.

 

“There is anger and hatred brewing inside me and I want to slaughter someone. I have mixed feelings about the sentencing. At the end of the day he is still my son and I love him, but he needs to learn a lesson.”

Leeroshe, a gangster, and a tik and Mandrax addict, started using drugs at the age of 12, said Van Ballo.

Ever since, his mother, whom he lived with in Eastridge, has had to endure physical abuse.

He stole her belongings to feed his habit and trashed her house when he “turns into a raging devil”, she said.

Van Ballo said the physical abuse started when she first confronted him about his drug habit.

 

She said she had taken her son to almost every rehabilitation centre in the Western Cape without any success.

“He will stay clean for two or so days after rehab then go back to the streets to get drugs. He has tried to stab me numerous times. On time when I slipped and fell in front of him, he looked me straight in the eye and said ‘you should have died’,” she said.

Van Ballo has taken Leeroshe to court several times, for assault, damage to property and house robbery.

He will appear for sentencing on Wednesday, after violating a three-year suspended sentence. Last year he spent three months in Pollsmoor for theft, a case also opened by Van Ballo.

“Living with him is like walking on eggshells. You never know what he is going to do next. One moment he is calm, the next he is an energy bunny that wants to punch me. Now there is peace in my house without him… that’s why I think he will be better off in prison.”

 

Thanks to Van Ballo’s friend, Vanetia Orgill, founder of the support group for drug addicts Discover Your Power, she has been able to cope with her situation.

Orgill believes that Leeroshe should be admitted to a psychological hospital and evaluated.

“His brain is fried by his usage of drugs. He will be much better off getting psychiatric help,” Orgill said. - Cape Argus


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