'Springs monster' breaks down during wife’s testimony

2017-03-27 16:21
A Springs man accused of abusing five children while keeping them captive for more than a decade, appears in court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

A Springs man accused of abusing five children while keeping them captive for more than a decade, appears in court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

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Pretoria - The man dubbed the "Springs monster" broke down in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday when his wife, who is also an accused, testified about his childhood.

The man and his wife are accused of abusing their five children. The parents are on trial on 42 charges including rape, child and sexual abuse, and drug dealing and possession.

They may not be named to protect the identities of their five children, some of whom are minors.

According to the wife's testimony, she had a difficult childhood. She said her mother chose her boyfriend over her.

She moved in with her sister when she was 11 years old where she taught herself how to cut hair and do needle work.

Bad childhood

She met the man when they were 17 years old. He had already dropped out of school at the time.

When they got engaged, they stayed with the man's parents and moved out when his mother died.

Her husband's defence attorney, Anneke van Wyk asked if the woman agreed that her husband had also suffered a bad childhood.  

The woman said "no".

Judge Eben Jordaan asked if she had witnessed any violence in the house.

"Yes, the mother shot and killed the father and then killed herself," she said.

When testifying to this, her husband broke down.

For the first few minutes of her cross examination, the woman looked agitated.

Threesome

The wife had testified earlier that after the birth of their son the abuse started.

"It looks to be that all of the problems started in 2008. Do you agree?" Van Wyk asked.

She replied: "Correct".

"He was not acting the same anymore. He dragged me around the house and started hitting me and the children," the woman said.

After a while, the woman said she made a mistake and that the abuse started long before 2008.

Van Wyk said one of the children testified that the mother had illegitimate relationships. She denied this.

"I spend 24 hours a day with accused one [her husband]."

Van Wyk told the court that when they were on holiday in Durban, she had told the man that she had a threesome with his brother Piet and his cousin Bennie.

"You need to lie to him otherwise he would hit you," the wife said.

Naked picture

Throughout her testimony the man sobbed uncontrollably. He frequently wiped his tears with his handkerchief with his head hung low.

She said they were married for three years when the woman moved out due to the abuse the man inflicted upon her. She went to stay with his brother Piet.

Van Wyk also said that the woman had several other relationships. She asked if she had a relationship with a man called Felix, and a second man who worked at Spar. Van Wyk also asked if she had a relationship with a man named Eddie.

The woman denied all the alleged relationships.

"Is it also true that your sister sent the man a naked picture of herself to get back at you," Van Wyk asked.

The woman confirmed the picture.

Van Wyk asked the woman if she made a mistake when she told the court earlier that there was never food in the house, because when the fridge broke, they had to throw meat away.

The woman said: "Yes".

Van Wyk asked how she had passed her learner's licence test if she couldn't read or write.

The woman said the answers were already written on a piece of paper for her and that her husband paid a bribe at the traffic department.

"Are you telling me the entire traffic department was in on this? So you were dishonest and were actually cheating?" Van Wyk said.

The woman replied in the affirmative.

State prosecutor Jennifer Cronje argued that the woman didn't fulfil any of her duties toward her children. The woman agreed.

Cronje also argued that the woman was aware that using and being in possession of drugs was illegal, but continued to abuse drugs.

"Correct," she replied.

Cronje will continue her cross examination on Tuesday.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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