'Springs monster' will go to jail for 35 years

2018-10-03 11:09
 Advocate Anneke van Wyk consults with her client, the 'Springs monster' during the trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

Advocate Anneke van Wyk consults with her client, the 'Springs monster' during the trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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The so-called "Springs monster" has been sentenced to an effective 35 years in prison for the severe abuse of his five children, the rape of his eldest daughter, drug possession and obstruction of justice.

His ex-wife received a suspended sentence of five years on certain conditions, such as undergoing psychological counselling. The judge took into account that the woman was, like the children, a victim and had suffered serious abuse at the hands of her husband. 

The man and woman, who cannot be named to protect the identities of his children, were found guilty in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on August 16.

He was found guilty of rape, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice, obstruction of justice, five counts of child abuse and five counts of child neglect. He was also found guilty of drug dealing and drug possession.

His ex-wife was convicted of five counts of child neglect, drug possession, obstruction of justice and defeating the ends of justice.

The collective sentences of the man add up to 67 years. These include 10 years each for attempted murder and rape, as well as five sentences of five years each for child neglect and child abuse. Other sentences relate to drug dealing and possession of drugs and defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently for an effective 35 years. 

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, Judge Eben Jordaan said: "The crimes committed by the accused are serious. Especially the crimes committed against the two older children."

'The devil made them'

Jordaan read from affidavits by the two older children, in which they recounted many instances of abuse. 

"I don't think of them as my mother and father. I don't want to be their child," the boy said in his affidavit. 

"I hate everything about my dad," the boy said. "I would kill him if I could."

The boy recounted that a blowtorch was used to burn him and other assaults, and said he still bore the scars of the assaults.

The woman quietly wept as the judge read from the children's affidavits but the man didn't show any emotion as he listened. He crossed his arms and took a sip of cool drink from time to time.  

Jordaan read from therapists' reports that detailed the abuse, including one incident in which one of the younger daughters, now eight, was dragged down a flight of stairs and another in which the older boy was beaten until his eyes were purple.

One of the younger daughters told her therapist: "Jesus didn't make them. The devil made them." 

'Tortured - not abused'

"No child asks to be born. It is the task of every parent to love and cherish their children. None of these five children was loved or cherished.

"They were tortured and neglected. Not abused - tortured," Jordaan said. 

The judge rejected the man's claims that his son had asked to be tied to a pillar. He also rejected the man's denial that he had used pepper spray on the boy. 

"We know from evidence that accused two (the woman) was also assaulted in the same way he assaulted the children," the judge said. 

The judge said the man had continuously tried to shift the blame to his ex-wife and children.

"These claims are utter nonsense and lies." 

READ: 'He must stay in jail forever and die there' - children of 'Springs monster'

The man was arrested at his house in Springs, on the East Rand of Johannesburg, after his son escaped and ran to a neighbour for help, following a severe beating. The man abused his five children for years, keeping them locked in their house where they were made to sleep on filthy mattresses and given little food.

He was found guilty of raping his daughter, then 16 years old, and was also abusive towards his now ex-wife. The judge rejected as "nonsense" the man's claims that his daughter had "seduced" him. 

He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of his 11-year-old son, whom he beat severely. 

'He will always be a psychopath'

The judge read from a psychological evaluation which he considered "thorough" and "credible" and said it was an important part of the case. 

Former police forensic psychologist Bronwynn Stollarz told the court on Monday that the man lacked insight into his deeds or the consequences thereof –more so than any other perpetrator of violence she had interviewed in her career. She agreed with State advocate Jennifer Cronje's statement that the man would "always be a psychopath".

Jordaan said he agreed with Stollarz's findings. 

Stollarz also told the court that there was still a high risk that he would repeat his behaviour if released and warned that seeing him would render psychological progress the children had made "null and void".

The court also heard that, while the man said he was sorry, he did not show any remorse.

In an interview with YOU on Monday, a family friend said the children want to move on with their lives and did not want to see the parents "get off scot-free".

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