Children to testify in ‘Springs Monster’ trial

2016-05-24 05:25
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Johannesburg – The trial of a Springs man who allegedly held his family captive for years and abused them is due to continue in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday.

A court room filled with family members on Monday heard that the 36-year-old man faces 22 charges and his estranged wife 20. These include rape, child abuse, and possession of and dealing in drugs.

They may not be named to protect the identities of their children. At the start of their trial on Monday, the man wore a blue shirt and caramel-coloured pants. His wife wore black. They sat three metres away from each other in the dock.

The man pleaded guilty to only one charge - preventing a police officer, Warrant Officer R Jansen, from executing his duties, by lying about where his son was, and to pretending to be somebody else.

He was arrested in May 2014 after his 11-year-old son fled the family's house and ran to a neighbour's house to beg for help. The neighbour called police.

The man tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists in the court holding cells shortly after he was denied bail last year.

Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje read the charges to the couple on Monday. 

The man's lawyer, Anneke van Wyk, told the court he acknowledged in his plea agreement he touched the daughter’s genitals once, but said he did not think she was his own child. She was 16 at the time. He said his wife told him the child belonged to his brother.

Two children of the five children who grew up in the so-called house of horrors, would testify on Tuesday via closed circuit television.

The mother pleaded not guilty to the 20 charges that were put to her. Cronje said she claimed the man gave her the drugs cat and crystal meth (tik) to make her relax and to have better sex.

*This article has been updated to correct a wrong attribution in the third-last paragraph. The comments in the third-last paragraph were wrongly attributed to the prosecutor, while it was in fact the man's lawyer, Anneke van Wyk, talking.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  child abuse  |  gender violence

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