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Dad's hacking of child stuns hardened cops

By unknown | Oct 02, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A five-year-old child has died in hospital near Durban hours after he was brutally beaten and stabbed by his father.

In a case police described as one of the worst cases of abuse the country has experienced, angry neighbours yesterday said the 40-year-old Umlazi man must "rot in jail".

The boy was beaten on Sunday evening, the day after his father had brought him to his home for a visit. He was stabbed in the head, back and legs. Part of an ear and his tongue was cut off with a sharp instrument. Police said he might have even been flung against a hard object or wall. Several of his front teeth had fallen out.

The incident happened in the township's F section and the child was taken to the Prince Msheyeni hospital in Umlazi in a serious condition. He died yesterday afternoon.

The father told neighbours he thought his son was an animal and he was "trying to defend himself".

The child's identity is being withheld because police have still to contact his mother.

Lunga Mthembu, a close neighbour, said he was asleep when a woman knocked on his door to tell him about a child being beaten.

"I rushed there to find the child lying beaten and motionless in a pool of blood outside the house. And when we entered the house, the suspect was relaxed and smoking. He acted as if nothing had happened and when we asked him why he had assaulted the child, he told us that he thought he was fighting with a big animal.

"We arranged for transport to take him to the hospital and by that time, people had gathered and were already assaulting the suspect," Mthembu said.

Another neighbour, Bheki Mthembu, said he has known the suspect for more than 15 years but did not know about the child. "He was a rude person but I could not imagine him doing such a horrible thing. When he arrived with the child, I asked him whose son it was, and he said it was his. What he did was unforgivable."

The suspect's mother said: "I am still shocked at what happened and I cannot imagine him doing such a terrible thing to someone so small. I did not know about the child."

She went to her son's house yesterday but refused to stay there.

Constable Longville Jamal said: "The father might undergo psychiatric treatment. He remains in custody. The police who attended the scene are all traumatised. Many of them were in tears."

Officers were yesterday trying to locate the child's mother who is believed to be in Ezimbokodweni, near KwaMakhutha, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.


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