THE clinical psychologist who assessed the former wife of the so-called Springs monster, said she and her five children appeared to have been exposed to levels of physical abuse and maltreatment, the likes of which he has not seen in his career thus far.
“It goes beyond human understanding that any individual will willfully and adamantly treat another human being in the manner in which accused 1 (the man) has allegedly treated her and the children,” Franco Visser told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
The parents face more than 20 charges relating to the alleged abuse and neglect of their children. They are also facing a charge of attempted murder regarding their then 12-year-old son, who was severely beaten by his father.
It was said that the mother is also guilty, as she did not lift a hand to help her children.
But the mother claimed she was terrified of her bulky and aggressive husband at the time and she was helpless to do anything.
Visser concluded that the woman suffered from battered woman syndrome due to the years of extreme levels of violence, abuse and even torture which characterised their household.
The now former couple were arrested in 2016 after their battered son sought refuge from the neighbours. The police swooped on the house, which subsequently became known as the “house of horrors.”
When the police and social services arrived at the house, they were met by the mother, dressed in skimpy clothes, while the children clung to each other in terror. The house was said to be filthy, with rats running around.
Visser said in his report that the woman appeared illiterate and she could hardly write. When she was asked how many cigarettes she smoked a day, she wrote “10 segret.” She also said she used the drug CAT for four years, which she spelled “ket”. With her drugs she usually had “rum and coke,” she said.
According to her her husband bought drugs from Nigerians, which he and their then 16-year-old daughter packed into smaller packets and sold.
The woman told Visser how her husband had handcuffed her on many occasions and dragged her around by her hair. He also used to cuff her and their son to the railing of the stairs for an entire night.
The woman told Visser that she was too afraid to leave her husband and even after their arrest she stood by him, until she had “realised her mistake.” She is now engaged to another man who accompanied her to court.
She told Visser that her former husband was “not well in the head” and that he often used drugs while they were married. She said he also injected himself with steroids and “perfection oil”.
She said the police were once called to their house by a family member after she (the mother) was assaulted by her husband. He instructed her to tell the police that they had “kinky sex.”
The mother told Visser that her husband was sexually demanding, that he had a variety of sex toys, a penis enlarger and viagra. He also forced her into “pornography-viewing sessions” and they were “busy” for two days at a time, only stopping to take the occasional break.
During these times their oldest daughter was told to keep the smaller children away.
Visser commented that the alleged physical abuse and related trauma “is horrific, to say the least.”
He said it seemed that the mother reached a level of helplessness and psychological paralysis within her relationship with her husband, which impacted on her ability to fulfil her role and duties as a mother.
He said there was no doubt that she suffered from battered woman’s syndrome and recommended that she receive lifelong therapeutic treatment.
The State commented that this syndrome was not a defence in our law, but it can, however, count as mitigation in the case of a conviction.
The case was postponed to August 14 for legal arguments.