Ernest Wolmarans
2 minute read
4 Jun 2014
9:20 am

‘House of Horrors’ hides dark secrets

Ernest Wolmarans

The man accused of holding his wife and five children prisoner and torturing them at the so-called "house of horrors" in Springs will likely not be granted bail when he appears in court today, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.

FILE PICTURE: The house dubbed 'the house of horrors' in Springs on the East Rand. The husband allegedly kept his wife and children, aged between two and 16, captive for years. Picture: Alaister Russell

“There are concerns he will intimidate other witnesses involved in the case, including family members, neighbours, garden service staff and domestic workers,” the source said.

Nine buildings, many occupied by fellow tenants, litter the property in one of Springs’ more affluent suburbs.

And many of the tenants had submitted statements to police, the source said.

The car dealership previously owned by the accused down the road from the property had also closed down the source said.

An order had also been issued against the man and his wife preventing them from seeing their 11-year-old boy, according to the source.

Police were called by neighbours after the boy escaped from the house after the man allegedly punched him in the face – reportedly because the boy had failed to find the man’s coded car key, valued at R8 000.

“The boy is currently staying with family members. The four other children are together at another place of safety.

“All are undergoing counselling and police are investigating whether orders against the parents should be issued for any of the other children,” according to the source.

He said much focus would be cast on the children’s injuries.

“They were allegedly tied up and thrown in the swimming pool, nearly drowned – along with speculation of different instruments used to torture the family.”

Initial media reports said the children were starved, whipped, beaten, electrocuted and burnt on the soles of their feet with blow torches.

The other children, a boy and three girls, are aged two, five, seven and 16.

The man’s family members came out in his defence last

week, rejecting many of the allegations levelled against him – including that he held his family prisoner – as unfounded.

They claimed his wife was likely more than just a victim herself.

“He could be very aggressive. But so could his wife,” one of the man’s family members told a newspaper.

“She also hit the children. They did it together.

“Why isn’t she arrested? Why does she get all the media coverage as the victim?”

The man’s bail application was postponed at the Springs Magistrate’s Court last week, at the investigating officer’s request, for further investigation.

The man is expected to appear again today.

He faces formal charges of abuse, defeating the administration of justice, attempted murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.