Springs 'house of horrors': I saw dad hide boy in ceiling - neighbour

2016-06-06 21:20
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 – A woman who lived in a cottage flat in the backyard of the alleged Springs "house of horrors" told the Pretoria High Court on Monday that she saw the father hide his 13-year-old son in its ceiling.

The woman's name has been withheld to protect the identities of her children and grandchildren.

The woman, who lived in the flat along with her mother, daughter and three grandchildren, said that she was busy doing laundry one day when the father and his 13-year-old son arrived at her home.

"The boy had two badly bruised eyes," the woman said. She asked him what had happened, but he didn't want to talk. She also asked the father, who allegedly said there were problems but didn't specify what exactly had happened.

"I asked him [the boy] if he wanted something to drink or to eat, because he really didn't look well with his eyes completely swollen," she told the court.

She said the father hid the boy in a hole in the ceiling and told the child that he will come and fetch him later.

Saw no violence

This was apparently when police and child welfare services came looking for the children.

She said that the father gave her some money to buy the boy a cooldrink and a pie, which she did.

She said that the father came in the evening and told the boy to come down from the ceiling.

"I didn't see the boy again after that," she said.

The woman said she never saw any form of abuse in about a year and a half of living there.

The father, through his lawyer, said he left the boy on the bed and when he came back later he saw the boy in the ceiling. It was also stated that the father said that the woman's son put him in the ceiling and that the father was angry when he saw this.

The neighbour replied saying that her son was at work so "it was impossible for him to hide the child in the roof".

The last person to testify on Monday was a security guard who also lived in a garden cottage in the backyard.

Case postponed

The man said he was a security guard for the family and his job was to monitor the gate.

He testified that he wasn't on duty when the police and child welfare services arrived at the house. He said he also never saw any form of abuse.

"I never saw any form of violence whatsoever," he told the court.

He did, however, testify that he was given orders by the father via a walkie-talkie not to let police in when they arrived. He told the court that the men claiming to be police officers did not identify themselves and arrived in an unmarked vehicle.

"They said that I should open the gate and not ask any questions. I told them that I won't [open the gate]," the man said.

According to the man, the mother came a while later and told him to let the police in.

The father, however, denied that he gave any instructions through the walkie-talkie.

The case has been postponed to June 9.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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