Gran ’blames herself’ for 1-year-old Orderick’s murder
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Cape Town - Murdered toddler Orderick Lucas’ grandmother has told a social worker she “blames herself”, after she went against a court order by placing her grandchildren back in the care of their “irresponsible” mother.
This emerged in the Western Cape High Court on Monday in the murder trial against Melvin Volkwyn, when social worker Mariel Bester, from Child Welfare Stellenbosch, took the stand, furthering the defence’s case.
It was Bester’s version that while making a call to Orderick’s grandmother, Cornelia Scheepers enquiring about the child’s wellbeing, Scheepers said “everything was fine”.
Bester said she had made the call to Scheepers on March 25, 2019 – a day after Orderick had disappeared.
“Later that week, on March 28, the principal of the daycare where Orderick was placed had enquired about the foster grant fees that had not yet been paid out and mentioned that Orderick had been absent from crèche for about two weeks. She said she was worried.
“I told her I would immediately investigate. Before I could even leave, (a police officer) came to report that Orderick had been reported missing. I went to Scheepers to find out the exact state of affairs. She mentioned that she wanted time for herself and that is why she left the children back in the care of the biological parents,” said Bester.
Orderick’s biological mother, Davidene Lucas, had officially reported him missing on March 28, 2019.
Bester added that she “had several questions” for Scheepers, including why she had not taken her grandchildren back into her care after her birthday party.
Scheepers told her Orderick had sores around his mouth and told Lucas to take the child for medical care.
“She wanted (Lucas) to take him to the clinic the next day. I asked her why she did not mention that Orderick was not in her care at the time when I placed a call with her earlier that week. She said she wanted Lucas to take responsibility.
“I told Scheepers that the reason the children were placed in her care was because the mother is not a responsible mother. She said she blamed herself,” Bester said.
Further in her testimony, Bester said when an issue of Orderick’s fractured arm previously came up, Lucas could not give a satisfactory answer, which was what spurred an investigation into the safety of the children.
Lucas had told Bester she assumed Orderick fell over a wooden log at the entrance of their home.
However, in a different version to the court, Lucas said the toddler’s arm was fractured while he was left in the care of Volkwyn.
Defence witnesses, however, testified that the arm had fractured after she fell with the child while being drug intoxicated.
The matter continues.