News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
20 Mar 2017
2:05 pm

‘Abusive’ Springs mom fit to stand trial

Ilse de Lange

The criminologist said the mother suffered from Stockholm syndrome and had an 'unhealthy bond' with her husband.

The 38-year-old Springs mother who is accused of severely abusing and neglecting her five children was fit to stand trial and did not suffer from any psychiatric illness, a panel of experts has found.

The State on Monday handed in a report in which three psychiatrists said the woman could distinguish between right and wrong and could act accordingly.

The woman was earlier referred for mental observation after a forensic criminologist said in a report she could not be held accountable for her actions of of her dyslexia and low intelligence.

The criminologist said the mother suffered from Stockholm syndrome and had an “unhealthy bond” with her husband after years of physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

The woman and her husband have pleaded not guilty to 21 charges, including a charge of attempting to murder their 11-year-old son and charges relating to the neglect and abuse of their five children and the possession of drugs.

The father also denied raping and sexually molesting his 16-year-old daughter. The mother testified that she had met her husband when they were both 17 and married him at the age of 20 when she was already pregnant with their first child.

She said their relationship was good in the beginning, but her husband became increasingly violent and used to assault her and the two eldest children.

She testified that her husband used to assault their eldest son every day of his life. He used a shock stick, blowtorch, sjambok and knobkerrie to assault the boy and also tied him up. He also used the sjambok on her and their eldest daughter and fired shots with a BB gun at the children.

She claimed her husband would hit her, drag her around and handcuff her if she refused to give him regular sex. He also made her watch pornography with him and gave her and their 16-year-old daughter drugs.

A Nigerian used to deliver drugs at their house and her husband sold drugs and forced their daughter to sell drugs. He made her dress like a prostitute and also allowed a prostitute to do business from their home.

The woman said her husband refused to let the children go to school, did not allow them outside unless he was there and did not allow them to play with friends.

She admitted that their house was filthy and that the rats were so large that they used to run over the traps, but claimed her husband never gave her time to clean the house.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.

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