Abused baby sleepy, docile - mom testifies

2012-04-23 22:37

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Johannesburg - A 2-month-old baby who died of apparent abuse was sleepy and docile before being taken to hospital, his mother told the North Gauteng High Court on Monday

Wade died of head injuries several days after he was admitted to the Steve Biko Hospital, in Pretoria, in a critical condition.

His parents Nolan Schoeman, 32, and Marissa Rudman, 36 are on trial for his murder. Both have pleaded not guilty to abusing and murdering him in April 2009, and to abusing another child.

In her testimony, Rudman said she noticed swelling on Wade's head, a thumb mark on his forehead and redness around his nose, but no other marks when she bathed him on the day he was admitted to hospital.

However, Schoeman had been in and out of the baby's room and she suspected he was using drugs.

When she "received a report" that Schoeman had hurt the baby she jumped up and found him standing with Wade, lifeless, in his arms.

22 broken ribs

She told the court she "became hysterical" and left the room. The baby then screamed "in a strange manner".

She said the baby was having a fit, and she insisted on taking him to hospital.

At the hospital, a nurse wanted to know if she had dropped Wade, but she denied doing so.

Schoeman "nearly attacked" the nurse and shouted at her, she said. When shown pictures of Wade, Rudman sobbed and denied that she had ever seen anything beyond a slight bump and a thumb mark on her son's head.

The neurosurgeon who treated the infant testified earlier that the baby had two broken arms, 22 broken ribs, dark finger-mark bruises on his head and chest and such severe brain swelling that parts of his brain had already started to die.

He testified that the broken bones had already started to heal and that the head injuries had been four to five days old.

Rudman testified that the only signs of illness she had noticed were a stuffed nose, "a bit of a breathing problem" and that her baby was struggling to drink.

She said she had never seen Schoeman assault the baby apart from a "little tap on the bum" and had believed in her heart that he loved their son and would not hurt him.
- SAPA

Read more on:    child abuse
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