There was a moment of deathly silence in the High Court in Pretoria after the father dubbed the “Springs monster” for torturing and abusing his five children for more than a decade was sentenced to 67 years’ imprisonment, of which he must effectively serve 35 years.
Judge Eben Jordaan ordered that a psychological report about the father, which described him as a psychopath and sadist with low prospects of rehabilitation and a high risk for violent behaviour towards those he regarded as weak, must be placed before the parole board when they considered releasing the father on parole.
The father seemed unperturbed by his long prison sentence and told reporters he intended to appeal.
“I didn’t do any of those things. I want to see my children again because they’re my whole life,” he said.
The father was sentenced to heavy jail terms for raping his then 16-year-old daughter, attempting to murder his 11-year-old son, attempting to defeat the ends of justice, interfering with police duties, five charges of child abuse, five of child neglect, dealing in drugs, and the possession and use of drugs.
The children’s 40-year-old mother breathed a sigh of relief and hugged her fiancé after being given a five-year wholly suspended jail term on charges of child neglect, defeating and obstructing justice, and drug possession.
Her fiancé told reporters they were very relieved that she would not go to jail and hoped to get married sometime next year. He said the mother felt sad that she could no longer see her children.
Judge Jordaan said he was of the view that the mother should not go to prison, given the circumstances she had to endure in that house and the fact that she was a battered woman who was, like her five children, also severely assaulted and unable to intervene.
He said no child asked to be born and it was the duty of every parent to care for and nurture their children, but none of these children was ever cared for or cuddled. The eldest two children were physically tortured and all of the children were assaulted and neglected.
Their eldest son said he hated his father, would kill him if he could, wished he could torture his father with a blow torch and shock stick like he was, hoped his father received the same treatment he meted out to his children in prison every day, and wanted him to go to hell.
He sometimes wondered why he was still alive and blamed his father for his feelings of grief and anger and the fact that he would never be normal.
The eldest daughter said in a statement she had forgiven her father but could never forget what he did to her. She never wanted him or her mother in her life again and felt they should never see any of her siblings again as they did not deserve to be parents.
She said she never tried to flee because she had regarded the abuse as “normal” and only now realised that it was not after becoming part of a normal, loving family.