Neighbours tell of boy’s plea to be saved from father

2014-05-29 00:00

“OOM, help me, my father is going to beat me to death!”

That was a bloodied 11-year-old boy’s desperate plea to neighbours in Springs on the East Rand.

“Please hide me, I promise I’ll be good.”

Before this cry for help on a cold evening last Monday, the neighbours had never seen the child.

Despite living next door for years, the neighbours were not aware of the existence of the boy, his brother and three sisters.

He hammered on their door, wearing only a pair of shorts.

The Witness reported yesterday on the suburban house of horrors where a 36-year-old man allegedly kept his wife and five children, aged from 16 to two, prisoners, regularly torturing them.

The man appeared briefly in court yesterday. He was wearing a dirty blue tracksuit top and frowned at the full gallery, before staring emotionlessly ahead.

He is charged with child abuse, attempted murder and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutor Leanie Hattingh asked that his bail application be postponed for seven days so the state can obtain statements from all the witnesses.

“We haven’t yet got all the statements from the children, The five children and their mother are seriously traumatised and still have to speak to social workers. The state is also waiting for medical reports.”

The case was postponed until June 4.

The neighbours, Hennu and Hanlie Venter and their daughter Charné (18), spoke yesterday in the upmarket suburb of their shock.

Hennu told how the bloodied boy fell into the house when he opened the sliding door at about 10.30 pm last Monday. “He begged us not to call his father and tell him where he was.

“We didn’t know who he was. We were shocked, nothing like that had ever happened to us,” he said.

“My daughter took him to her room and gave him a jacket. He then told us he lived next door and his father liked hitting him.

“We turned off the lights and kept the house dark because we could hear his father looking for him in their garden.”

Hennu said they gave the boy a blanket and a cup of tea while they phoned relatives for advice.

“We didn’t know what to do. A relative advised us to return the boy to his family, because we could be accused of kidnapping. We were scared. I called the boy’s parents with a heavy heart.”

Hanlie said the child begged her to save him. “Tannie, please help me,” he pleaded when his parents came to fetch him.

“I had seen how that monster assaulted his workers,” she said.

“The mother and his oldest sister came in first. The child refused to go. The mother pulled him up by his arm. When his father stormed in, he reached out to me and my daughter screaming for help.

“The father grabbed him and slapped him hard behind the head.

“I couldn’t sleep that night and the next day I called the police. When I heard the next day the child had disappeared, I told the police I had the feeling something worse had happened. I thought the child might have been beaten to death.”

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