'Springs house of horrors' child handcuffed, pepper-sprayed

By News24 Wire
22 March 2017

More horrific details emerge in the shocking case.

One of the children in the "Springs house of horrors" was handcuffed between two pillars and pepper-sprayed when he asked to be untied, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

The wife of the so-called "Springs monster" told the court that the boy was kept cuffed like this throughout the night.

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.

Police arrived at their house in Springs, on the East Rand, in May 2014, after the couple's son ran to a neighbour for help. The father was arrested on May 23.

Read more: ‘I love you so much, my sexy’: Love letters read out in ‘Springs Monster’ trial

Defence attorney Louiza van der Walt told the mother that there was testimony from the boy that his head was shoved into a bucket of water.

"The boy ran away and the man told us to go fetch a bucket of water and put the boy's head in the water. We did it because we are scared of him," the woman said.

Family handcuffed

She said they held him upside down by his feet to dunk him into the bucket. They did it once. The father sat on the couch and looked on.

"He said if we don't do it, he would beat us," the woman said.

"He would first beat him and then cuff his one hand with handcuffs and tie his second hand with a rope. Afterward, he would take a blanket, throw water out over him and put a fan on."

All of this happened at night.

"When he asked: 'Maak my los, maak my los,' [untie me], he was sprayed with pepper spray," the woman said.

She said the man would handcuff the family to a pool table.

"He would only untie us when he felt that it was enough. Sometimes we would be tied the entire evening. We were not even allowed to go to the bathroom."

Judge Eben Jordaan asked what they had possibly done wrong to receive such treatment.

"Your Honour, at times I also asked myself what we did wrong," she replied.

Shot fired

The mother said the boy was put into a cupboard and burned with a blowtorch.

Van der Walt said the boy testified that the incidents took place whenever his father was angry at his mother.

The man allegedly dragged a younger child up the stairs and threw her onto the bed from the door, the woman said.

When she said that he owned a firearm, but had sold it, Van der Walt asked him if he had ever used it.

"He took one bullet and put it in the magazine. He then cocked the gun and fired the shot right past me," she said.

The woman said he had denied that two of the children belonged to him.

He once threw the boy into their pool and made no attempt to save him from drowning.

Van der Walt told Jordaan the woman was tired. The trial was postponed to Thursday.

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