'Springs monster a psychopath and sadist, can't be rehabilitated' - psych report

2018-10-01 16:30
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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The man dubbed the "Springs monster" is psychopathic, a sadist, and unlikely to be rehabilitated. 

Forensic psychologist Bronwynn Stollarz on Monday testified in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that the man has no insight into the severity of his deeds, lacks remorse and blames others, including his children, for the violence and sexual assault he was convicted of inflicting on them. The man cannot be identified to protect the identity of his children.

On August 16, Judge Eben Jordaan found the man guilty of raping his eldest daughter, who was 16 at the time, the attempted murder of his then 11-year-old son, 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 dealing in drugs and the possession of drugs. His advocate, Anneke van Wyk, indicated on Monday that the man would not be testifying in his own defence. 

The man was arrested on May 23, 2014, after his son ran to a neighbour for help. At his house in Springs on the East Rand, police discovered that the man and his wife had been severely abusing their children.  

Stollarz was responsible for compiling a psychological evaluation and report on the man. 

Man suffered abuse as a child

She told the court there were "numerous factors" that contributed to him committing the crimes, including low intellectual ability and suffering abuse as a child. 

This abuse includes being assaulted by his own father, being sexually molested by a friend of his father and being bullied in school. 

"He has a long history of violence, including his father using objects to harm him," Stollarz said. 

A former SA Police Service forensic psychologist, Stollarz testified that she had interviewed many perpetrators of violence throughout her career and said she had never come across a person with "less insight into his deeds or the consequences thereof". 

State advocate Jennifer Cronje put it to Stollarz: "He will always be a psychopath. That is not going to change."

Stollarz agreed. "Sadism is a character trait and it will not go away," she added. 

Stollarz said that, as a child, the man had a close relationship with his mother and wanted to "protect" her from abuse by his father. The man sobbed as details around his mother's death was discussed. It was unclear whether she had committed suicide, or whether she was shot by the man's father before he took his own life. 

'Saying sorry not the same as having remorse'

Under cross-examination by Van Wyk, Stollarz said the man's family members had noted an improvement in his behaviour in the four-and-a-half years since he had been incarcerated. 

He had also not shown any form of violence while in prison, Stollarz said. 

Justice Jordaan pointed out that prison was a completely different environment. 

Stollarz agreed, saying that there was a "high risk" he would repeat his violent behaviour, especially to those close to him. 

The man had "found the Lord" and started a church group in prison. 

He also wants to apologise to his children. 

But Stollarz pointed out that wanting to apologise and showing remorse were not the same.

"He has serious lack of insight. He feels he's found the Lord and by extension, kids should want a relationship with him." 

Under cross-examination by Cronje, Stollarz conceded that "he says he is sorry, but he has no remorse".

His children 'hate' him

Victim impact reports and affidavits by two of his children indicated that they hate him and don't want to see him again. 

"To put it mildly, they hate them," Justice Jordaan said, referring to both parents. "They refer to them as 'oom' and 'tannie' (uncle and aunt), not as mum and dad." 

Stollarz said any contact with the two parents would render any psychological progress the children had since made as "null and void". 

In the boy's affidavit, seen by News24, the boy says: "I hope they hit him in prison every day. They must never let him out. I hate him."

Court proceedings are expected to resume on Wednesday morning for sentencing.

The sentence would probably be "lengthy", the judge indicated.  

READ: 'Springs monster' breaks down during wife’s testimony

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