News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
31 Mar 2017
6:01 am

Mom knew nothing of abuse in Springs ‘house of horrors’, court hears

Ilse de Lange

The woman said her husband had regularly assaulted her and their five children.

The wife of the man accused of abusing her and their five children and holding them captive appears in the Springs Magistrate's Court in Ekurhuleni, Tuesday 2 July 2014. Picture: Neil McCartney

A Springs mother claimed she had no knowledge of her husband’s sexual abuse of their teenage daughter in their “house of horrors”.

The mother earlier admitted she had a legal duty to protect her daughter, then 16, from being sexually abused by her husband.

But on Thursday, said she did not know what legal duty meant and had not been aware of the abuse.

Asked if she knew about her husband sexually assaulting his daughter on a mattress in the lounge where the whole family mostly slept, the mother said she did not know about the abuse.

Asked by her legal representative, Louisa van der Walt, if she understood what “legal duty”, “coercion” and “reconciled” meant, the mother just shook her head.

When Judge Eben Jordaan asked her if she understood a mother had to look after her children, she said “yes”.

She thought “legal duty” meant one had to do things right and not do it wrong.

Asked what she thought “abuse” meant, she said it was when someone told you to do something and you did not want to do it. She believed “coercion” was when someone told you to go with them or to do something.

The woman said her husband had regularly assaulted her and their five children. He lost his temper when she refused him sex.

Van der Walt earlier objected to prosecutor Jennifer Cronje’s “high” language during cross-examination, saying her client did not understand half of what was being said in court.

She also objected when Cronje asked the mother about a statement in a report by criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit that the mother had regressed to an earlier developmental phase so that she could escape her circumstances and had treated her babies like “dolls”, but withdrew from them when they grew up.

The mother admitted that she had left most of the younger children’s care to her daughter.

The woman and her husband have pleaded not guilty to abusing and neglecting their five children and attempting to murder their 11-year-old son. The husband also denied sexually molesting his eldest daughter.

‘Springs monster’ mom tells of house of hell

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