- Anthea Swartland testified that despite her drug use, Davedine Lucas would not do anything to hurt her children.
- She and her family live on the same property as Lucas and her partner.
- She told the court Davedine took Orderick with her wherever she went.
A neighbour of Davedine Lucas, the mother of murdered Orderick Lucas, does not believe she would do anything to hurt any of her children, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.
Anthea Swartland, who lived in the main house in Tecoma Street in Melton Rose, where Lucas stayed with her partner in a wendy house, said despite her drug use, Davedine loved her brood and would always ensure they had eaten and were always with her.
"I don't think she would do any thing to her children. She especially loved Orderick very much - everywhere she went, she took him," she testified.
She had known Davedine for about five years, since she came to live on the property.
Murder accused Melvin Volkwyn was Davedine's friend and would visit her at home, Swartland said.
When she looked at him in the dock, she started to cry.
She recalled seeing Orderick on the day he disappeared. Davedine and Volkwyn were at the house and Orderick had been lying on the couch that afternoon in March 2019.
"He was feverish and just lying. He didn't want to eat."
She had advised them to make him a bed in front of the door so that he could get some fresh air.
The day before, Davedine had taken Orderick to the clinic on Swartland's advice as he had had a fever and sores on his mouth.
The last time she saw the 22-month-old boy was when Volkwyn had left and Davedine said she was going to take the little one to her mom, Cornelia Scheepers.
Scheepers was Orderick's legal guardian, but the children had been with Davedine as her mother was celebrating her 50th birthday.
Davedine had been assaulted that night by people who accused her of stealing a cellphone.
She returned home the next day. According to her, she had left her son with a friend, Eon Adams, the night before.
Swartland said she saw Volkwyn the Monday morning sometime between 10:00 and 11:00, when he arrived at the house, asking her partner where Davedine was.
"He asked Mel if Orderick is at his house. He said 'yes, he is'."
She, too had asked if Orderick was at his home, and he had told her the same.
But according to Volkwyn's plea explanation, he had given the child to Davedine early the Monday morning.
Swartland said she had seen Davedine the Tuesday.
"I asked if she went to her mother to check on the children. She said 'no', she had just gotten home from work and that Melvin told her he took the child to her mother."
That Thursday, she had told her that she wanted to go see Orderick as she missed him very much.
"In 30 minutes, she came back... but I saw she had tears in her eyes. She said she was coming back now, she wants to see where Mel is before she told us what had happened at her mother's house."
Davedine had arrived at Scheepers' home to find that her child wasn't there. Her mother said the child had not been returned to her.
Swartland said she accompanied Davedine and Volkwyn to the Kleinvlei police station.
"She was crying. She said Melvin said he gave her the child, but she knows he didn't give him to her.
"I asked how they could talk in such riddles, one saying he gave the child and the other saying he didn't.
"I asked him 'where is the child'? He said he gave the child to Davedine. I asked him how if she says she didn't get the child form him."
Orderick's body was found on 2 April 2019 when a group of children had tried to retrieve their ball from a stormwater drain in Wittebol Street, Melton Rose, near Scheepers' home.
His body was so badly decomposed that his cause of death could not be determined.
The trial continues.
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