Court hears of abuse

A man who allegedly sexually groomed and abused his stepdaughter ‘threatened’ a concerned neighbour who tried to intervene.

SHOCKING details of the extent of the of abuse suffered by a 10-year-old girl allegedly at the hands of her stepfather emerged in court yesterday when the 43-year-old appeared in the Verulam Family Court.

The accused, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, is facing a raft of charges including rape, two counts of grooming and sexual assault.

According to the state, the sexual abuse of the child began in 2013 when the suspect sexually groomed the child using a vibrator and adult movies, to teach her how its done.

However, that later progressed into rape when the accused allegedly penetrated the victim, during the period from 2013 to 2018.

Neighbour, Roopnand Dhanukdhari, said they would often hear the child crying and the accused allegedly yelling at her.

Dhanukdhari said when he had tried to intervene the accused had threatened to shoot him and told him to mind his own business.

“He told me I should not interfere in the disciplining of his child. That day I had been fed up of hearing her cry, I had to do something. But I honestly didn’t know when she would say stop you’re hurting me was because he was raping her,” Dhanukdhari said.

While another resident Nomzamo Gcula, who grew up at the informal dwelling said they had often wondered why the girl never went to school or played with other kids.

“They moved in four months ago. The only time we would see her outside was in the company of her stepfather. On several occasions we tried to approach her but she was not allowed to speak to us. However, that changed on Sunday night when she approached another neighbour for help because she was bleeding from her lip. That’s when she spoke up about the rape,” Gcula said.

Throughout the proceedings the accused remained seated with his head bowed until he was asked to stand by magistrate Irfaan Khalil who wanted to document his injuries.

The accused, who was allegedly beaten by the community on Monday, said he had suffered bruised ribs, head injuries, facial injuries and was unable to walk or stand properly due to an injury on his leg.

Following the brief appearance he had to be rushed out of the Verulam Family Court yesterday as angry community members waited outside for him, demanding he be handed over to them.
The anger of the community had already forced a change of venue for the appearance which was scheduled to take place in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning.

The matter was postponed to June 25 for further investigation and to allow the accused to get treatment for his injuries.

State prosecutor, Ishara Sewnarain, said they would be opposing bail when the suspect reappeared in court.