Pretoria - The so-called Springs monster did not appear shocked when he was convicted on Thursday of 16 charges, including the rape of his then 16-year-old daughter and the abuse and neglect of his five children.
The 39-year-old man smiled and said goodbye to a group of friends in the public gallery before he was taken down to the holding cells at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
He was convicted on 16 of the 22 charges he faced.
The man, who cannot be identified to safeguard his children, did not put up a fight during his lengthy trial. He admitted that he did assault his then 11-year-old son, but he denied in his plea explanation that he attempted to murder him.
But Judge Eben Jordaan convicted him of attempted murder in this regard, as he said the man relentlessly punched the child in the face. The boy weighed 37kg at the time, while the father was bulky from all the steroids he had used.
The father, through his advocate, wanted the court to excuse him for assaulting the boy, as he said he was on drugs at the time and could not remember much of what had happened that day. Judge Jordaan, however, said the questions posed to the witnesses regarding the assault on the boy was an indication that the father knew exactly what he was doing.
The man also denied that he had raped his daughter, but he did admit that on occasion he indecently touched her. In this regard, the judge accepted the evidence of the teenager as being true. He said she did not try and exaggerate during her evidence, although she initially tried to protect her father by denying that he had raped her.
The daughter, who is now 20, was in court on Thursday to hear the fate of her parents. She and her siblings were removed from their care in 2014 when the police raided their double-storey Springs home, dubbed the house of horrors. The smaller children are all in a place of safety.
Judge Jordaan said it was also clear that the father had abused and neglected all five his children - ranging from three to 16 years - over a number of years. Especially the eldest two children felt the brunt of his temper.
He kept the children mostly captive in their home and the children were not allowed to have friends or attend school.
Their mother, also aged 39, meanwhile hugged family members and her new fiancé, after she was convicted on eight of the 20 charges she faced.
Judge Jordaan said he accepted in her favour that she was a battered woman. Both the eldest children testified how their mother was also subjected to severe assaults from their father. The mother earlier testified that she was too terrified to come to her children’s aid.
She painted a bleak picture of how she and mostly their son were subjected to severe torture at the hands of her husband.
She said they were on occasions cuffed to each other and fastened to the legs of the pool table in the house. They were left to remain like that for an entire night.
On other occasions they were cuffed to the table or to the railing of the stairs, while her husband threw a blanket over them and doused them in cold water, before putting on the fan. She said he pepper sprayed into their faces if they dared to urinate during that time.
Their son was from time to time tied up in the cupboard of the main bedroom, while her husband burnt him on his arms with a blowtorch. He was left tied up for an entire night.
On other occasions she and their five children, the youngest who was one at the time, were left only dressed in their underwear, in a room she called the “classroom.” According to the mother, they were left there in the bitter cold for the entire night
Judge Jordaan accepted that the woman had difficulty in protecting her children against her husband, but he said there was no reason for her to neglect them.
He referred to witnesses and video recordings handed to court of the filthy house. Various witnesses testified how rats were running around in the house and they described the conditions there “worse than a pigsty.” A picture depicted a rat who had suffocated in a dirty pot in the filthy sink.
The mother’s excuse was that the rats were too big to trap.
Judge Jordaan said there was no excuse for this dirty house, nor for not feeding the children properly. The mother said this was because she had to be at her husband’s side 24 hours of the day. “This is no excuse,” the judge said.
Sentencing proceedings will meanwhile start on October 1. Both the defence and the State indicated that they will obtain pre sentencing reports.
The man remained in custody while the woman’s bail was extended.