Springs 'house of horror' children were isolated from the world, court hears

The couple during an earlier court appearance. (Denzil Maregele, Netwerk24)
The couple during an earlier court appearance. (Denzil Maregele, Netwerk24)

Pretoria - The children living in the so-called Springs "house of horrors" were isolated from the rest of the world and the only adults they knew were their parents, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Psychologist Marina Genis, testifying in the trial of the man accused of the decade-long abuse of his five children, said one of the daughters was dependent on her mother and father because she had no one else, not even a best friend.

"I don't want to say they were kept in prison, but they were isolated from the rest of the world. Besides the other people living with them, their parents were the only adults they knew," Judge Eben Proos commented.

Genis told the court the daughter said in her statements that she loved her father more than her mother. 

"She got a lot of attention from the father and she was thankful for what he has done for her."

The daughter described her mother as nasty and said she did not pay attention to her and the other children.

Genis was testifying for the State, in the couple’s trial on 42 charges including rape, child and sexual abuse, and drug dealing and possession. They may not be named to protect the identities of their five children, some of whom are minors.

Police were called to the house on the East Rand in May 2014, after the couple’s son ran to a neighbour for help. The father was arrested on May 23.

Suffering from denial

Genis told the court how the daughter explained the damage to her genitals. 

"In her first statement, she said it was caused by a vibrator, and in her second statement she said it was caused by two boys. She only admitted at a later stage that it was caused by her father."

Genis said it was highly unlikely that a child caused such injuries to herself and that 79% of children who had gone through traumatic events such as those alleged in this case suffered from denial. 

"We asked the mother if she [the daughter] was sexually active with her boyfriends, and she denied this saying that she was always with them," she said. 

When asked by the prosecutor why the children were not in school, Genis said she was told the parents were waiting for homeschooling forms.

'Naughty boy'

However, Harry Prinsloo, for the defence, said it was on her husband's instruction that the wife told people the children would be homeschooled.

Prinsloo said the husband told his wife not to get the children any form of medical attention. 

The prosecutor asked Genis about the abuse the children had suffered. 

"The mother said the boy was a very naughty boy, and it was because of him that we are in this situation right now," she said.

Genis said the woman blamed the child and thought he was silly for running away.  

"The boy was very angry at his father, and he blamed the father for what he had done to him," she said. 

The defence stood down and the case was postponed to Thursday.


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