Dad says child broke skull, arm by accident

2010-09-15 07:59

A Pretoria father has claimed his two-year-old son had sustained a broken skull and arm, and a ruptured liver “by accident”.

Sibusiso Phetla (28) of Lotus Garden, yesterday denied in the North Gauteng High Court that he had in July 2008 murdered his son Amogelang Solomon Maditla and failed to get medical help for the seriously injured child.

He claimed the boy had fallen off a couch onto a heater, which was how he had sustained the broken bones, internal injuries, bruises and burns all over his body.

The state alleges Phetla had severely assaulted his son after fetching him from his mother for a visit at his house for the day.

He allegedly hid the child, preventing the mother from seeing him until the next morning, when she found the boy virtually in a coma due to the seriousness of his injuries.

The boy died shortly after being admitted to hospital of a head injury caused by blunt-force trauma and complicated by bronchopneumonia.

A pathologist and a paediatrician testified that there would have been grill marks on the child’s body if he had fallen against an ordinary heater.

One of the doctors said the mark on the child’s arm looked a lot like the mark of an iron.

Both doctors described several of the other burn wounds on the child’s body as most likely caused by hot water.

The child also had blood in his urine, caused by a ruptured liver as a result of blunt-force trauma.

The doctors testified that the fractures to the child’s arm and head were so serious that it could not have been caused by him falling off a sofa or bed.

The boy’s grandmother told the court the child’s forehead was swollen when she saw him in hospital.

Phetla said he did not know how these injuries could have been caused, but felt it must have been the result of the boy falling off a couch when he quickly went out for a cigarette that night.

He claimed the child had been sitting on the couch when he went out and was lying next to the overturned heater when he heard the boy scream and rushed back inside.

He had put toothpaste on the burns and slept with the child that night, but it did not cross his mind to summon help or phone the mother, he said.

He only realised the child was weak and was seriously injured the next morning, but did not do anything and “just sat there” until the mother arrived.

According to Phetla, he had noticed that his son was not feeling well when the mother brought the child to him the previous day, but thought it was a minor thing that would pass.

Judge Vivian Tlhapi postponed the trial to November 15 for legal argument.?

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.