Weeping mother describes last moments with baby

2017-09-21 20:30
Marthinus Pelser appears in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court.(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Marthinus Pelser appears in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court.(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - She sat with his lifeless body in her arms. His face was blue and his head was swollen as she said goodbye to her son one last time.

The mother of the 6-month-old boy, who was allegedly murdered by his father, Marthinus Pelser, held her dead son Deon in her arms before he was taken away by paramedics.

"She (paramedic) brought my son to the room and wrapped him in blankets. She handed my son to me and, while I was holding him, I observed his head was swollen. There was blood over his eyes, nose and ears. He was very blue and cold," Bianca Rothman testified on Thursday.  

Baby Deon was found dead in his cot by his mother at their home on June 11, 2016.

Her testimony in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court in her son's murder trial, left many supporters wearing "JusticeForBabyDeon" T-shirts in tears.

Rothman, who was married to Pelser for about a year, was the third witness to take the stand.

Earlier in the day, two police officers took the stand. The matter was postponed to September 28.

The infant had head injuries and burn wounds. Pelser allegedly went on the run in his partner’s vehicle. He was caught in Strubens Valley after the car ran out of petrol five days later.

Baby left in father's care

Rothman said she went to work around 08:00 on Saturday on June 11, 2016.

She worked at Link Pharmacy in Roodepoort, about 15 to 20 minutes away from their home.

Baby Deon was in the care of his father at the time.

State prosecutor Paseka Temeki asked if this was usual.

Rothman replied: "It was normal, as I worked at the pharmacy every second weekend, and then I will leave my son in the care of him."

On weekends, she would work a morning and an evening shift.

She knocked off around 13:00 and went to cut her hair at her mother’s place around the corner from her home.

When she arrived home, she took a shower and then wanted to hold the boy, which Pelser had refused.

'Pelser was abusive towards me'

Rothman said Pelser was irritated and in a "foul mood" and told her that it was because she wanted a divorce.

"Was it true that you wanted a divorce, and how did he know?" Temeki asked.

She replied: "Yes, we discussed it around May 2016. Pelser was abusive towards me."

Rothman never reported the abuse to the police out of fear of Pelser.

"He told me he would kill me if I told anyone," she said, her voice breaking.

She said he would abuse her, lock the doors and close her mouth.

Fighting to hold back tears, Rothman said: "He would call me horrible names; he would call me a bad mother and would use very foul language."

Thirty minutes into her testimony, Rothman wiped her tears away with a white tissue. She remained calm.

When she returned to work later in the day, Pelser had sent her a WhatsApp message, saying he was sorry about everything.

When she arrived home after picking up their Chinese takeaway, the safety gate was locked.

"When I opened the door, I immediately smelled cigarette smoke from inside the house. Pelser came out of the bathroom, and I put the takeaway on the counter on a yellow book.”

Rothman said she walked around the counter and saw a broken mirror leaning against the couch in the living room.

‘I did something horrible’

"I put my jacket on the sofa and I asked him what was going on. He seemed to be himself, except he was wet and holding a knife. When I went closer to him, I saw he had a mark around his neck. I also saw cuts across his wrist."

The cuts were not bleeding.

According to Rothman, when she asked him where her baby was, Pelser replied "I did something horrible". He had also asked her to kill him because he couldn’t do it.

She said Pelser looked distressed.

Rothman then became too emotional to continue and the court adjourned briefly.

'I saw my son’s head was blue and pale'

While making his way down the stairs, Pelser softly said to one of the supporters: "Loop kak (Go f*** yourself)."

After a ten-minute adjournment, Rothman, in her testimony, said she had also noticed that there was something hanging from the door, which looked like an extension cable.

She could not see her son in the cot. He was covered with a blanket.

Rothman then broke down and said: "When I moved the blanket to where his head normally was, I saw my son’s head was blue and pale. I also noticed there was some blood on his face."

She ran to the security guard and asked him to phone the police. Her copper-coloured Kia Picanto was gone.  

She later phoned her mother, using the security guard’s phone.

They left before the baby was taken away by paramedics.

Read more on:    marthinus pelser  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  child abuse

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