'I trusted you with my child': Dros childminder felt like a failure after mom's words

Nicholas Ninow at the Pretoria High Court, September 10 2019, a day after admitting he raped a child aged seven, a year ago at a Dros restaurant.
Nicholas Ninow at the Pretoria High Court, September 10 2019, a day after admitting he raped a child aged seven, a year ago at a Dros restaurant.
Image: Alaister Russell/TimesLIVE

The mother of a seven-year-old girl that Nicholas Ninow has admitted raping became "hysterical" when she could not see her child in the play area of the Dros restaurant, a witness said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Ninow pleaded guilty to accosting the girl when she went to the restaurant's bathroom on September 22 2018. 

The trial is ongoing with the state leading its witnesses.

A former childminder at the Silverton Dros told the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday that she had been looking after the child and others in the kiddies corner at Dros. According to the woman, children occupy two kiddies corners at the restaurant. One accommodates 7-12 year olds and other accommodates 1-3 year olds.

Before children are allowed to play, their details are entered into a register and a sticker is placed on the child's chest, she said.

The victim and her mother got to the restaurant around noon. The mother was with two children; the girl and her brother.

Asked if she was working with another person in the play area, the woman said she worked alone but would, when she needed assistance, ask workers in the pizza section to look after the children.

"On the day in question, I did not ask anyone to assist me until I went for lunch at 4pm. There were still children in the kiddies corner.

"Before I went to lunch, the child requested to go to the bathroom.

"I asked the lady in the pizza section to look after the children. I told her I would take a 15 minute break," the woman said.

"The girl went to the ladies' bathroom and I proceeded to go to the back to have my lunch."

She said when she got back from her lunch break, she found the girl's brother seated alone while other children were playing. "I asked him why he was playing alone. He said his sister went to the bathroom."

The mother went to the play area to look for the child, the court heard. "She came back again and said she could not find her daughter. I told her I was told she went to the bathroom.

"The mother asked, 'where is my child? I trusted you with my child'. She was hysterical."

The childminder said she then went to the bathroom and found one of the waitresses combing her hair.

"I asked her if she did not see the child, but she said did not. She said it looked like there was someone in the cubicle.

"I knocked the first time and did not get a response."

There were three cubicles in the bathroom, according to the childminder. One was out of order, the other was designed for the disabled and was slightly opened. The third one was occupied.

"I knocked the second time. I then pushed the door and the person inside pushed the door back.

"The mother came with other waitresses and assisted in pushing the door."

She said the first person she could see in the cubicle was the child.

"When I registered the child, she was wearing a purple skirt and tights, but when I saw her in the cubicle, she was not wearing the tights."

She said she then saw Ninow behind the door.

"He was topless ... his pants were unzipped."

She said she had not seen him before as she did not go to the tables.

Ninow wanted to hit them with a belt, the woman said.

"I did not see anyone being struck by the belt because I ran away.

"... The mother of the child took her and I was confused. I was with the child the whole day and what I found in the bathroom is not what I expected."

The witness said she later resigned from her job.

"I left Dros because I was not coping. The words uttered by the mother that she trusted me, made me feel like a failure."

The trial continues.

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