Couple of 'evil' child have another baby

By Tania Broughton Time of article published Aug 17, 2005

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A Port Shepstone couple, who caged and tied up their baby daughter believing her to be "possessed by evil forces", have subsequently had another child.

And a Durban High Court judge ruled this week that the couple could keep the new baby because of his age - although under strict supervision of local social welfare officials and the Family Advocates' office.

The ruling by Judge Vivienne Niles-Dunér was made in spite of strong recommendations by the Family Advocate that interim custody of both children be given to the grandparents.

The couple - who cannot be named to protect the identity of their children, a girl now aged 15 months and a six-week-old baby boy - were arrested earlier this year after neighbours alerted police that the older child was tied up in the back garden.

According to papers before the court, on the day of her removal from her parents' care, police had found the child with her hands tied behind her back, kneeling on a small stoep, in the company of a small dog which was licking her face.

According to reports, she had previously been left in a cage, unsupervised and unfed for hours on end.

It is alleged that the couple said that they believed her to be possessed by evil spirits.

They reported that she had made a "humming sound" in her sleep, had bit her mother's nipples, had scratched her ears until she bled and had grown "dracula-like teeth".

She also had a huge appetite and howled.

The couple claimed that they had received advice from a "psychic" and were attempting to rid the child of evil.

The couple admitted to tying the child's hands behind her back but said it was to stop her injuring herself.

The spiritualist, in interviews with the family advocate, denied telling the couple that the child was evil or that they should give the child away.

However, the paternal grandmother reported an occasion when the spiritualist had grabbed the child, banged her hand on the floor five times and said to the mother: "I told you not to put the devil on the sofa."

She had allegedly then said she would give the child Rattex "and would not mind spending the rest of my life in jail".

In her affidavit, Family Advocate Dharam Bamdaw said she believed the new baby was also at risk because, in a statement to the police, the couple had confirmed that they were acting on the directive of the spiritualist.

In a letter before the court, the couple's attorney, Vassist Sewpal, said that it was hoped that they would get custody of their elder child, who was now living with her grandparents. He said it was best that both children grew up together, accusing the family advocate of adopting an eye-for-an-eye principle in attempting to remove the new baby from their care.

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