Mom, stepdad in court after abused boy, 2, dies

2018-05-04 20:01
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The mother and stepfather of a 2-year-old boy they are accused of abusing so badly he had to be admitted to a special care centre appeared emotionless when it was confirmed that the toddler had died this past weekend.

Taswell and Renzia Louw appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing on charges of attempted murder and child abuse, where prosecutor Liezl Herbst informed Judge Mushtak Parker that Jeremiah Speak, 2, was dead.

A post-mortem report would be examined to determine if the child had died of the injuries sustained allegedly at the hands of his parents, which could result in the charge being changed to murder.

According to the charge sheet, Renzia is the mother of Jeremiah and a 9-year-old boy. Both the children were left in Taswell's care during the day between December 2016 and February 2017.

The couple had apparently been married for a "relatively short period" before the incidents took place.

It is alleged that both had at times locked the children in their Uitsig home and left them unattended for several hours in the evening, with the older son sometimes being locked out of the house without food.

According to the State, Taswell had physically and emotionally abused his wife's children and "frequently severely assaulted the younger in full view of his older brother".

It is alleged that Renzia knew of the abuse, but failed to protect the children or get them the required medical attention.

Malnourishment, sepsis

Among Jeremiah's injuries were burn wounds and a ruptured small intestine which were left untreated.

The State believed failure to seek medical treatment resulted in malnourishment and sepsis.

When he was hospitalised "extreme medical interventions" were required to save his life.

He had, however, before his death suffered from severe spastic/dystonic cerebral palsy, intellectual and physical disability, the inability to swallow and blindness.

He required constant medical care and had to remain in a special care centre.

During proceedings Parker asked the two if they were aware that Jeremiah had died.

Renzia raised her hand and confirmed that she knew.

Both were expressionless.

The matter was postponed to May 25.

Read more on:    cape town  |  child abuse
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