'House of horrors' father lied about his identity, court told

2016-06-03 15:02
A Springs man accused of abusing five children while keeping them captive for more than a decade, appears in court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

A Springs man accused of abusing five children while keeping them captive for more than a decade, appears in court. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

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Pretoria - The father of the so-called Springs "house of horrors" lied to a social worker about his identity when she visited the home, the Pretoria High Court heard on Friday.

Social worker for Springs child welfare, Jolene Fouche, told the court the father of the five abused children told her he was the mother's brother when she went to the house on 20 May 2014.

She was testifying in the trial of the man and his wife on 42 charges, including rape and child neglect and abuse.

Fouche told the court that as she entered the house, four of the children, excluding the 13-year-old boy, were lying on a dirty mattress in front of a television.

She asked the oldest child, an 18-year-old girl, why she was not at school as it was a school day.

A police officer who was with Fouche told her to speak to the mother, as the children might get into trouble with the father.

"The mother told me that the children are home-schooled," she told the court.

Fouche asked for proof of the children being home-schooled, like schoolwork and the registration papers parents had to complete.

The mother seemed like she was on drugs because her speech was slurred and her pupils dilated.

"She said that she did not use drugs," Fouche said.


Fouche said the mother's outfit raised suspicions of her being involved in prostitution.

The mother denied this when Fouche asked her about it.

"I asked her to tell me what was going on in the house. She was about to start when she heard the father's voice and seemed scared. She quickly ran down the hallway."

Fouche said the father introduced himself as the mother's brother, although she had her suspicions.

She asked him to contact the father and to bring the 13-year-old back to the house.

According to Fouche, the man told her she was being "absurd" when she asked if he was the father.

"We said that we were going to take the children and I asked the oldest daughter to get clothes like socks and pants for the rest of the children."

The mother showed no reaction while the father, still claiming to be an uncle, completely refused.

She said the man was very aggressive and locked the four children in his vehicle when he initially refused to let Fouche take them. 

Clung to the oldest daughter

Fouche said while they were at the child welfare offices, the children stayed away from the father and clung to the oldest daughter, their sister.

It was only in the children’s court that the man admitted to being the father. 

The man faces 22 charges and his estranged wife 20. These include rape, child abuse, and drug possession and dealing. Both are 36 years old.

The husband pleaded guilty to only one of the 22 charges, namely that he tried to stop a police officer from doing his work. The couple pleaded not guilty to all the other charges.

The two may not be named to protect the identities of their children, some of whom are minors.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime  |  child abuse

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