Wife of 'Springs monster' had no choice but to neglect kids: expert
Share this article:
Pretoria - The advocate for the former wife of the “Springs monster” is searching for relatives to testify about her “abuse” at the hands of her husband over the years.
Harry Prinsloo told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Friday that two close relatives who were to testify now cannot. One has died and the other one is at her dying husband’s side.
Prinsloo also indicated he would consult a psychologist to evaluate the 39-year-old and present a report to the court about her state of mind while still married.
The former couple are facing an array of charges relating to the abuse and neglect of their five children - aged between 3 and 16 - which include the attempted murder of their 11-year-old son, who was beaten by the husband.
The alleged abuses at the so-called “House of Horrors” in Springs were uncovered in 2014 after the boy ran to the neighbours for help after the beating and his mother did nothing to help him.
The neighbours alerted the police and social services, who raided the house. They found four of the five children, and their mother who was dressed “like a prostitute”. The father had allegedly hidden the bruised boy in the roof.
The woman claimed her husband made her dress in skimpy clothes and he demanded sex several times a day, including what she called “kinky sex”.
She said she and the children were terrified of him and kept as virtual prisoners behind the high walls of the double-storey house.
The court earlier heard evidence how the entrance to the property was always manned by security guards employed by her husband and there were surveillance cameras around the house.
A social worker told the court that when they raided the house, it was filthy, with rats running around the kitchen. The smaller children were terrified and clung to the legs of the 16-year-old daughter. The teenager and her brother earlier testified behind closed doors that she was like a mother to them. They claimed that their mother did not pay much attention to them, nor did she cook or clean the house.
A forensic criminologist, Dr Pixie du Toit, testified this week that the mother was of extremely low intelligence and could hardly read or write. She said she was a victim of her husband’s abuse.
Du Toit said the mother had no choice but to neglect her children, as her husband demanded that she had to be beside him virtually 24 hours a day.
Du Toit was adamant that the mother was an abused woman and that she could not be blamed for what happened to her children.
But the State grilled her about her findings and said that she was aware that she, as a mother, had a duty of care towards her children.
“She purposefully evaded her responsibilities She won’t take any blame and is blaming everything on her husband,” said prosecutor Jennifer Cronje on Friday.
The criminologist, however, responded that the mother simply could not fulfil her responsibilities as her situation would not allow her to do so. She compared the mother with someone who suffered from Stockholm Syndrome.
The husband indicated he would not testify in his own defence, notwithstanding the damning evidence delivered by his wife and children.
The bulky man, usually dressed in a purple shirt, only responded to the allegations by occasionally vigorously shaking his head while his wife testified about his “abuse” of her.
The trial will resume on Wednesday.