Mom accused of murdering toddler son weeps over photos of his funeral

2017-07-05 15:02
Magistrate's court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Magistrate's court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - A man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend's 1-year-old son used to take care of her three children while she held down a job to put food on their table, her father Pastor Ronald Ruiters said outside the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

"[Abigail] thought… he was nurturing and looking after her children. She told me: 'Daddy, I trusted him with my baby. I trusted him with my boy'," the emotional church leader said after his daughter appeared in the dock.

Abigail Ruiters and Ameeruddien Peters are accused of murdering 18-month-old Jeremiah, Ruiters' youngest son.

The little boy was buried two weeks ago. Ruiters, who remains behind bars pending her bail application, was not allowed to attend this.

The toddler was declared dead at a Kensington health facility in June after sustaining serious injuries to his head and body. He had been in Peters' care at the time while Ruiters worked as a cashier at a wholesaler.

Ruiters further faces a charge under the Children's Act, and Peters one of rape.

Ruiters appeared resigned when she stood in the dock alongside her boyfriend, who stared at the ground during proceedings. 

The couple made a brief appearance before Magistrate Joe Magele, where their legal aid lawyer Thaana Abrahams asked for the matter to be postponed to allow for another lawyer to come on record.

She told the court she felt representing both of the accused would be a conflict of interest, and Magele postponed the matter to July 12.

'Mother dearest'

Pastor Ruiters said he stood behind his daughter, because he believed she was never a mother who neglected her children.

"She was a breadwinner. She always bought and got the best for her children. She walked through the local cemetery to get to work. That tells you she is a mother dearest," he said.

Peters, who was unemployed, looked after Jeremiah and Ruiters' other two children, the pastor confirmed.

"I was scared [for the other two grandchildren] when we heard [Jeremiah] was raped. Their grandparents took them to the district surgeon at Red Cross Children's Hospital and there were no signs of this."

He described his grandson's funeral, which took place last Saturday July 1, as a difficult experience.

"I took some photos taken at the funeral to her and explained everything [that had happened there] to her. She was weeping and very emotional. I asked her to be strong."

Pastor Ruiters is known in his community as a children's rights activist and has officiated at a number of funerals for young victims of violent crimes, including Celine Cowley, 4, who was sexually assaulted and stabbed in Ravensmead in August 2006, and Nadine Jantjies, 7, who was raped and strangled in Wesbank in 2009.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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