A suburban house of horrors

2014-05-28 00:00

AT first glance the large house looks like the perfect family home with big trees, lots of space for children to play and a swimming pool.

But behind its locked front door the house in Springs on the East Rand was a house of horrors in which five children between the ages of two and 16 years old were held captive, assaulted and tortured all their lives by their 36-year-old father.

The children could never leave the house and had apparently never attended school. The neighbours were not aware of their existence.

All this changed when an 11-year-old boy escaped from the house last Monday and fled for his life after his father threatened to kill him.

The boy got help from neighours, who were shocked to see the bloodied child. They called the police but then also his father, who took the boy back to his home and severely assaulted him. The father also allegedly all but drowned the boy by pushing his head under water in the swimming pool.

He later wrapped the bleeding child in a blanket and hid him in the ceiling because the neighbours knew of his existence.

When the police arrived the following day, they found only four children with their equally abused mother.

Investigating officer Warrant Officer Rudi Jansen said they visited the house last Tuesday.

“We found four children. The house was dirty and rats scurried everywhere while the children just sat there.

“The suspect was home and we wanted to know where the injured 11-year-old boy was. He said the boy had run away again.

“We immediately removed the other children. The suspect started crying and pretended that he cared a lot, but we did not trust the scene.”

A large-scale search started, with police, the local community policing forum and members of the Pink Ladies organisation looking for the boy.

“When we had not found him on the third day, we suspected the worst.”

Jansen said the father had meanwhile taken the boy from the ceiling and dropped him with a family member in the North West.

By Thursday, the pressure was too much on the mother, who found the courage to go against her sadistic husband, said Jansen.

“She told us where the boy was. We immediately sent for him. The man was arrested on Friday.

“The mother said she and her children had been held as captives for years. She told what happened after her husband had fetched the boy from the neighbours last Monday. He hit the child with his fist, kicked him and stomped on him.”

The mother said he would at times assault and torture his family all day and all night. The children were shocked with electric wires and burnt with a blow torch.

The large house is full of chains, blow torches, ropes and pornographic DVDs.

While the house had expensive furniture, the children had to sleep on one dirty bed.

“The 11-year-old boy had to sleep naked on the verandah one night as punishment. The wife said her husband often stripped her of her clothes, tied her up and then tortured her.”

The suspect, a successful businessman, has been charged with attempted murder, child abuse and obstruction of justice.

The police are also investigating a charge of statutory rape. A doctor’s report shows the 16-year-old daughter is no longer a virgin, but she had never left the house.

The man appears today in court and will apply for bail.

The five children are in the care of a family member and their mother is with other family members.

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