Beatings lead to miscarriage

2009-07-22 00:00

A 19-YEAR-OLD woman who endured two years of domestic abuse and suffered two miscarriages, allegedly due to the beatings, was arrested for concealment of birth after her fiancé buried her five-month-old foetus without notifying authorities.

The woman and her 32-year-old fiancé were both arrested for separate offences, with the fiancé to face assault charges. However, police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said that the possibility of more charges being laid against the man could not be ruled out.

“The docket will be sent to the prosecutor, who will decide whether the man should face more charges.”

The likelihood of more charges stems from the unfolding of events that led to the arrests yesterday.

The man, from kwaPata in the greater Edendale area, was saved by local councillor Musawenkosi Mchunu from a mob of angry residents who accused him of assaulting his fiancée.

“He beat her up and threatened to bury her where he had buried her child,” said Mchunu.

These threats triggered anger among the community members who flocked to his house and demanded to know the truth. Armed with knobkerries, sjamboks and sticks, the mob thrashed the man until he confessed.

“He told us that he had buried the foetus at the top of the hill after his fiancée had a miscarriage in June,” one of the community members told The Witness. The confession was made on Monday evening.

“It was dark on Monday evening so we decided to save the man until he showed us the grave when there is light.”

The mob began assaulting the man again yesterday morning, but Mchunu came to his rescue and called the police.

With a swollen face and carrying a spade and pick axe on his shoulder, the man led the way up the hill above the low-cost housing settlement. When he reached the top he walked a few metres and pointed out a shallow grave.

On instruction from the mob he dug with the spade and uncovered folded rags. He picked them up and unfolded them to reveal the decomposing foetus.

Men and women who were standing around the shallow grave turned away as the distraught young mother broke down in tears. She covered her battered face with her shirt and wept.

She told The Witness how her fiancé’s family told her to “go on with life because it was over with the baby”.

She had just returned from hospital on Monday, June 29, when her fiancé took her to where he had buried the foetus.

She had been admitted at Edendale Hospital on June 27 following her miscarriage.

“I was five months’ pregnant and he assaulted me as usual and I lost my baby … my baby boy they told me.”

She said she had previously had a miscarriage when she was three months’ pregnant with another baby and attributes it to the regular beatings as well.

She said no one was willing to listen to her story. “When I told a nurse at the hospital about the beatings she said I must not say anything about the assault.”

The woman said she was brought to Pietermaritzburg from Matatiele by her fiancé. She and the man are in police cells awaiting their court appearance.

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