’Abused’ baby had 18 fractures in first few months of life
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Pretoria - Baby T was only two months old when she was first admitted to hospital with breathing problems.
It was detected that she had suffered severe rib fractures.
By the time she was four-and-a-half months old and again admitted to hospital, she had at least 18 fractures across her body.
This is the evidence in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, where her parents – mother, 22, and father 24, of Wierda Park – are facing charges including attempted murder, assault and child neglect. The parents may not be identified in order to safeguard the child.
Both pleaded not guilty before Judge Hennie de Vos. Apart from simply denying that they had inflicted harm on their child, they chose to remain mum about their defence.
The State, however, is expected to argue that the parents are guilty of attempted murder or child neglect.
The parents were arrested in August last year after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit assisted doctors and a social worker to lay criminal charges.
The baby was admitted on at least three occasions to hospital last year – the last being in July. She had several fractures which, doctors said, were consistent with child abuse.
After the case was reported to the police, the Department of Social Development had recommended that the baby be removed from her parents’ custody.
The baby was temporarily placed in her grandmother’s care, but afterwards returned to her parents.
She has now been removed from her parents’ care and placed in the care of another family member.
The State called its first witness this week who testified that the mother neglected the baby and she was underfed.
Baby T was prematurely born in February last year. According to the prosecution, the baby was in her parents care up to April 3, when she was rushed to hospital for the first time.
Dr Michelle Molletze testified that she had delivered the baby on February 1 last year. She weighed 1.7kg at birth and had to remain in hospital for several weeks.
Molletze said that when she was discharged she was healthy and could drink on her own.
The matter is proceeding