Mom with dead baby: ‘Policeman felt me up’

2009-12-04 00:00

A WOMAN wept yesterday while describing in the Pietermaritz­burg regional court that she was sexually violated by a policeman while she held her dead baby in her arms on July 29, 2008.

The woman told regional magistrate Jaco Jordaan that she went to the Copesville satellite police station to seek help in summoning an ambulance for her sick baby, who was one month old.

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics said her baby was already dead and she would have to wait for the mortuary van to come. In between, she told the court, she was sexually violated by the policeman on duty.

Inspector Vasudevan Sockalingum (34) has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

His attorney, Anand Pillay, handed in a statement declaring that he did not in any way sexually molest the young mother, and had offered her a toilet roll to wipe her eyes and some water as she sobbed over the death of her baby.

The woman testified that Sockalingum told her four female friends, who had accompanied her to the police station, to leave her and her baby there. Then he sat close to her on a bench in the charge office.

“He asked me where is my husband … I told him that my husband went to his parents’ home to bury his father. After that, the accused asked me if, after I gave birth, I’d had sexual intercourse,” she said.

She said she told him that according to her custom, a woman with a small child should not have sex.

She alleged Sockalingum produced condoms from his trouser pocket and suggested he would use them. She said he offered her R200 cash and a cellphone, which he placed on the counter. “I said to him, ‘I don’t want your money’,” she said. “That’s when he started to touch me on my thighs.”

The woman said Sockalingum put his hand beneath the rug and skirt she was wearing on to her thigh, which was covered by a pair of tracksuit pants. “I was still carrying my baby,” she said.

She said she removed his hand and stood up, causing the rug to fall down. She said he attemp­ted to touch her again and she again objected, telling him she did not like what he was doing.

The ambulance arrived at that point and she learnt that her baby was dead. She was told to wait for a mortuary van.

“From there I did not know what to do,” the woman said, breaking down in tears.

She alleged Sockalingum approached her again and tried to force her to perform oral sex.

“I refused … I was still holding my baby and then I started to cry hysterically,” she said. She told him she was going outside to wait, but he asked her what if criminals shot her, she said.

Shortly afterwards, the mortuary van came and took her baby, but the crew said she must wait for a police vehicle to take her home.

She waited on the verandah, and two policemen later took her home.

She did not report to them what had happened as she was scared, but told a friend about the events when she arrived home.

The woman said she filed a complaint against Sockalingum after two days as she was arranging her baby’s funeral.

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