Probe launched after mother of woman burnt to death was allegedly turned away by police

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Police are probing allegations that a complainant was turned away.
Police are probing allegations that a complainant was turned away.
SAPS
  • A suspect has been arrested for allegedly setting a 21-year-old woman and her toddler alight.
  • The woman succumbed to her injuries in hospital two weeks later.
  • An investigation will be launched into allegations the victim’s mother was turned away by police.

One man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman, who was burnt to death. An investigation has also been launched into allegations that her family was turned away by police when they went to report the incident.

The 21-year-old victim succumbed to her severe burn wounds after spending two weeks in ICU. Her 14-month-old son is battling for his life in hospital after sustaining serious burn wounds. The two were allegedly doused with paraffin and set alight by a man, believed to be the victim’s boyfriend, on 4 April.

Katlehong police arrested a suspect on Saturday in connection with the murder.

The case was initially reported in Boksburg, before being transferred to Katlehong SAPS - the closest police station to where the incident happened.

"It is alleged a woman and her [child] sustained serious injuries from a fire whose cause is yet to be determined by the ongoing investigation," said police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

News24 previously reported that the victim’s mother claimed she had been turned away by police when she tried to report that her daughter and toddler grandson had been set alight. She told News24 harrowing details of waking up in the early hours of the morning by her daughter, who was in flames, carrying her grandson.

She said she had been turned away by police when she went to report the incident, with officers telling her to wait until her daughter had been discharged from hospital, to allow the victim to open the case in person.

"In the meantime, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has, as a matter of urgency, sanctioned an internal investigation into the allegations that police at Katlehong had turned family members away when they had come to the police station to report the incident," said Peters.

"Mawela has also reaffirmed to the public and particularly to victims of gender-based violence that the SAPS has a responsibility to prioritise the investigation of all crimes committed against women, children and other vulnerable persons."

The man is expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

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