Pretoria - The former wife of the so-called “Springs monster” simply wanted acceptance and love and although her husband had cuffed her on occasions naked to the staircase or the foot of a table, dragged her around by her hair and forced her into “kinky sex” , there were also occasions when he was nice to her. This gave her hope and made her stay with him, forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit told the high court in Pretoria on Monday.
The lengthy trial of the now-former couple resumed after it was postponed earlier this year. The couple is facing an array of the charges involving the alleged abuse and neglect of their five children - aged between three and 16.
They are also facing a charge of attempted murder on their 11-year-old son, who was severely assaulted by the man. While the couple pleaded not guilty to the charges, the man did not deny that he had assaulted the boy.
It was the 11-year-old’s escape in 2014 to the neighbours to seek help, which exposed what was happening behind the high walls of the double story house in Springs. The police and social workers were alerted by the neighbours. The children were removed and placed in a place of safety.
The 39-year-old mother meanwhile obtained bail, while her husband from whom she is now divorced, remained in jail.
Du Toit meanwhile took the stand on Monday to testify on behalf of the mother, who is said to have a low intellect.
Du Toit said the woman was undoubtedly also a victim of her husband’s abuse “Today she is here before court facing many charges. But who helped her when she needed it,” she asked.
Du Toit said the frail mother was helpless against her (then) bulky husband, who allegedly used and abused her as he saw fit.
A doctor who examined her after the couple’s arrest in 2014, noted at least 14 injuries on her body.
Du Toit testified that the woman was emotionally and physically abused by her husband since the time when they became engaged. She said it is difficult for people to understand why she remained with her husband, but this was a common trait among abused women.
She simply wanted love and acceptance and her husband was not always abusive. He from time to time took her on holiday and gave her materialistic things.
He was also manipulative and blamed her when he assaulted the children, by telling her “see what you made me do.”
When she threatened to leave him, he would either tell her that she will never see the children again or he threatened that he would shoot himself in front of the children.
Du Toit said although the mother was not able to safeguard her children from her husband, it did not mean that she did not love them.
According to the mother, her husband was so volatile that she never knew when the next assault on her or the children would be.
Du Toit testified that in her opinion, the wife was raped on several occasions by her husband, who several times a day insisted on sex. She described the mother as “not being streetwise” and who could hardly read or write.
She said she thus had no idea that she could seek help from outside for her problems.
The case is proceeding.