'Springs Monster' tortured his kids - nurse
Pretoria - The so-called Springs Monster allegedly tortured his son by cuffing his hands to a pillar and fastening his legs with rope to another pillar in the lounge of their double-storey home.
He then left the child to hang horizontally between the pillars for a day and a night.
The boy, aged 11 at the time, earlier told the high court in Pretoria behind closed doors about the alleged torture he and his sister, then 16, had to endure at the hands of their father. Their mother allegedly did nothing to prevent this.
While the court was cleared during his evidence, parts of the siblings’ versions came to light during testimony on Monday by a nursing sister who examined them days after they were removed from their parents’ care.
The 36-year-old parents are facing a string of charges, including attempted murder on the 11-year-old and neglecting the children. The older children were not allowed to go to school and were allegedly subjected to a spate of abuses. The father allegedly repeatedly raped his teenage daughter.
While the pair pleaded not guilty, the mother said she was helpless, as she was also abused by her husband. The court was told that the mother and the children were terrified of the well-built man.
Christina Rollin, of the Sexual Assault Clinic in Ekurhuleni, testified about the injuries she observed on mainly the two older children. She confirmed that the marks on the boy's ankles and arms were consistent with being tied up. The boy also said he was pepper-sprayed in his face while hanging between the pillars.
The witness said hanging between the pillars would result in a great deal of strain on his muscles. Judge Eben Jordaan added it must have been extremely painful.
The two children also testified that they were shocked on their bodies with a cattle prod. Rollin said when she examined the boy, he had bruises and lacerations across his body, including on his face and head.
The court heard in detail how the child was severely assaulted. The child testified that his father sat on top of him and repeatedly punched him in the face.
Rollin again confirmed that this version fitted the injuries she had observed. She said this type of assault could have cost the frail boy his life.
She also testified about a rip in the boy’s ear and said this fitted his version that his father threw him up in the air and let him fall to the ground. While falling, he bumped the side of his head against an object.
The scars on his head, she said, also fitted his claims that his father repeatedly hit him on the head with the ball-end of a knobkerrie. The father, earlier admitted he used the stick on his son, but claimed he merely lightly tapped him. But Rollin said it was clear that moderate to extreme force was applied.
Both children claimed they were also shot at with a BB gun by their dad, using small silver bullets. Rollin was not able to comment on this, but said it must have been painful.
Dealing with the injuries of the teenager, who was allegedly raped and sexually abused by her father, Rollin handed a sealed envelope to the court with pictures of the teenager’s injuries. Judge Jordaan asked the media not to publish the details.
The younger children, varying in age between 2 and 5 when their parents were arrested, did not show any signs of physical abuse. Their teenage sister earlier testified that the father mostly slapped them over the head. These children presented with teeth rotten to the gums.
The court was told this was due to sugary cold drinks given to them by their mother in their feeding bottles. They were mostly fed take-away food and starch.
An examination of their mother also showed bruises across her body. It is claimed that she and the elder siblings were, among others, hit by the father with a sjambok.
Martha Duvenhage, who lived in an outside room on the premises, testified how the father brought his severely injured son to her room, to hide him from the police and social workers. She said he stuffed him into a hole in the ceiling, while the authorities were searching the premises.
The case resumes on Thursday.