Jayden Scheepers

Kimberley - After fighting for his life for a week, four-year-old Jayden Scheepers, who was trapped inside a burning shanty which claimed the life of a 21-year-old mother, has died of his extensive injuries.
The family of 21-year-old Mpho Jackson, who died in the shack fire in Kagisho, have called for an additional charge of murder to be added to the current charges against Mpho’s husband, 29-year-old Tshepo Jackson.

Four-year-old Jayden, Mpho’s cousin’s child, who was also trapped inside the burning shanty before being rescued, died on Sunday.

Jayden was admitted to Kimberley Hospital following the incident in which he, Mpho and her 18-month-old child were trapped inside a shanty fire on Saturday, August 25.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and underwent surgery on Tuesday last week. According to Mpho’s mother, Kedisaletse Thure, Jayden was the last to be rescued from the burning shanty and he sustained extensive burns to most of his body.

“Jayden was trapped inside the shanty until the flames had been extinguished. Mpho was able to get her 18-month-old child, who sustained burn wounds to his hands, face and leg, out of the shanty.

“The flames erupted so fast and Jayden was trapped inside the shanty throughout the entire ordeal. His scalp, ears, eyes, arms, hands, upper body, legs and feet were burnt. Only his two little thumbs remained on his hands but all eight fingers were gone. His toes were still intact but his feet were burnt.

“We did not know the extent of his injuries when we rushed him to the hospital on that day, but they told us at the hospital that his scalp was off. He was then admitted to ICU but was taken to a ward last Tuesday after his operation.”

Thure said that Jayden’s death was a double blow for the family as they had buried Mpho on Saturday.

“We had to bury my daughter and now I have to bury Jayden also. It is so heartbreaking to lose two family members in such a short space of time.”

Mpho’s husband, Tshepo Jackson, appeared in court last week on charges of murder and arson, as well as two counts of attempted murder, after he allegedly set the shanty alight.

The couple were married for about a year.

Thure said she wanted her son-in-law to be charged with Jayden’s murder.

“I am very angry and I want justice to be served. These two children did not deserve to die in this manner. I do not know whether I should scream or cry but I also know that I have to be strong for Jayden’s mother.

“The pain is still so raw and now we have to stand by an open grave again. I am tired and I do not think I will be able to forgive the person responsible for this ... not in weeks or years to come. Only God knows what will happen.”

Thure said that she had had so many dreams and aspirations for both her loved ones, who were now gone forever.

“These children had their entire futures ahead of them. Jayden was only four years old and had so much to live for. Mpho was studying and pursuing a brighter future. Her 18-month-old child, who is now the sole survivor of this incident, does not sleep at night and cries for his mother. This is truly heartbreaking,” she sighed.

Jayden’s father, Christover Human, said his son seemed to be getting better the last time he had gone to visit him in hospital.

“Jayden could hear us and responded to us in hospital ... he could talk to us. I immediately left my work in Cape Town when I heard about the incident and have been to see my son every day since he was admitted. He was a very lively child and will be missed tremendously,” said Human with his head bowed.

Tshepo was arrested on August 27, 2018.

Police spokesperson, Sergeant Majang Skalkie, said yesterday that the accused is now facing two charges of murder and one charge of attempted murder.

The accused will be appearing in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court for his bail application on Tuesday.

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