A paediatrician has testified that a 12-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister, from Chatsworth, were “sjambokked”, allegedly by their mom and granny.
Dr Neil McKerrow, employed at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, took the witness stand in the Durban High Court on Friday during the trial of the two women, who are accused of murdering the children’s 3-year-old sister, as well as a range of other crimes, including abuse.
They have pleaded not guilty.
McKerrow told Judge Mohini Moodley that he had examined the older children on December 22, 2014.
He said the linear scars which the boy and his sister had, made him arrive at the conclusion that they were sjambokked.
The doctor, who is also an expert on child abuse, said it was evident that the siblings were pinched on their arms, private areas and in other places.
According to McKerrow, his examination showed that the children were repeatedly physically abused.
However, the youngest surviving sibling, a girl aged 4, was not abused, he said.
The children’s 31-year-old mother and 51-year-old maternal grandmother are being tried for various counts of child abuse.
They were also charged for raping the 3-year-old at their Chatsworth home in November 2014.
The child was found dead on a bunk bed.
Her right wrist had impressions of a string which was tied to the bunk. Paramedics and police found her lying on her back with her face tilted and with no signs of life.
All four siblings were in the foster care of their granny at the time. After the two women were arrested, the surviving children were sent to a place of safety.
The boy has finished his testimony. His 9-year-old sister started testifying on Wednesday via an intermediary.
Owing to the sensitive nature of the case, the children’s testimony, for about an hour a day, is closed to the public and the media.
Today (Wednesday) the State will call a pathologist to shed more light on how the 3-year-old girl was allegedly abused, raped and murdered.
The cause of death was attributed to blunt force trauma.
It emerged from previous testimony, including that of the children’s aunt (the mother’s sister) that the child who died had been extremely thin.
The aunt testified that no-one except the two accused was permitted to give the child food or liquids to drink, despite her cries.
The court was told that on one occasion the mother allegedly grabbed a cup of tea from the child’s hand and threw it into the sink. The granny, on another occasion, while apparently incensed that a relative had given the child food, allegedly grabbed it from the girl and threw it into the bin.
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