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By Ilse de Lange


Judgment day in Springs ‘house of horrors’ trial

Shocking evidence was presented about the severe torture of the two eldest children, the neglected state of the children and the filthy house.

A Springs couple who are accused of severely abusing and neglecting their five children will know their fate later this week.

Judge Eben Jordan yesterday postponed the couple’s trial to tomorrow for judgment after counsel for the state and defence concluded legal arguments.

The 39-year-old mother and her former husband, also 39, have pleaded not guilty to 21 charges, including attempting to murder their 11-year-old son, child abuse and neglect and dealing in drugs from their large double story house in Springs, which became known as the “house of horrors”.

The father also denied raping and sexually molesting his eldest daughter for years.

The abuse came to light in 2014 when their eldest son ran to neighbours for help, but the father allegedly went to fetch him and severely assaulted him before hiding him with family in the Free State, where the police later found the boy.

Shocking evidence was presented about the severe torture the two eldest children had to endure, the neglected state of the children and the filthy state of their house, where rats ran around freely.

Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje argued that the father should be convicted of attempting to murder his son, and the mother as an accessory. She said it was clear from the evidence that the father knew he could kill his frail 11-year-old son when he repeatedly punched him in the face.

The mother knew her husband would assault the boy, but told him where to find the child.

She argued that both parents should be convicted of abusing and neglecting all five of their children. The eldest two children never went to school and were severely tortured by the father with the mother doing nothing to protect them.

The eldest daughter was sexually abused, tortured and forced to sell and use drugs while the youngest three were repeatedly hit against the head and all had rotten teeth.

The father never testified, but his advocate argued that he could at most be convicted of assaulting his son, sexually assaulting his daughter, assaulting the eldest two children and not sending them to school.

Counsel for the mother argued that she had been a battered woman who was severely abused by her husband.

ALSO READ: Photos from Springs ‘house of horrors’

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