Pretoria – One of the police officers investigating the case against an alleged Satanist could not testify on Friday as she was on sick leave as a result of stress caused by the investigation, the Pretoria High Court was told.
Tattoo artist Robin Malcolm Classen (38) has denied guilt on charges of abducting, raping and molesting three young children. He is allegedly a satanist.
State advocate Annemarie Schutte, told the court Inspector Nellie van Heerden could not be called as a witness because she had been booked off due to stress caused by the case.
Van Heerden was called out to investigate after a frail seven-year-old girl started acting like a baby again – crawling, crying and kicking – before telling her mother that her private parts hurt and that “Uncle Robbie” had raped her.
Classen told the court his own children and most adults were afraid of him. He denies abducting the girl and her 9-year-old and 11-year-old brothers in 2002 and taking them to the Kruger Park and Schubart Park flats in Pretoria and various other places, where he tied them up.
The little girl was allegedly repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted and the boys sodomised and indecently assaulted. They were allegedly also forced to smoke and eat insects.
It is alleged that Classen cut crosses on the 11-year-old boy’s wrists with a knife, drew blood from him and injected him with his own (Classen’s) blood, threw knives at him and hit him with pipes and a stick.
His sister was allegedly bumped against a pole, slapped and hit with a sjambok.
The children’s mother testified on Friday that she had contacted a social worker and the police after being told that her daughter had been raped and seeing injuries on her private parts.
The child pointed out a pole to police where she said she was tied up and the accused did “ugly things” to her. She also showed police the place where the accused usually sat. Classen was arrested shortly thereafter.
The mother outlined severe behavioural problems in her children. The eldest boy was in a special school and the other two in special classes at their school. All battled with their schoolwork and had severe nightmares. Her daughter regularly wet her bed, the eldest boy suffered from terrible headaches and the middle child often had stomach aches.
All of them were “very emotional”, but especially her daughter’s condition had improved since the mother stopped working and stayed at home with them.
She was aware that all of the children reported that they had been subjected to things linked to so-called devils and satanism, but said this did not come from her or anyone she knew.
She reported an incident when the eldest boy one night woke up screaming and putting on all of the lights in the house. He said a huge snake had crawled over him, but they could not find anything.
The mother sometimes woke up at night to what sounded like plastic shopping bags blowing around in the house, only to find that there was nothing there. Their domestic worker also complained on numerous occasions that the children’s clothes would be strewn around the room right after she had packed the clothes away and tidied their cupboards.
The mother admitted her children had all been traumatised in the past because of her former husband’s abusive behaviour and revealed on Friday that she had, in 1999, found out that her now dead fiance had molested her daughter. She only realised this after receiving a report from the child’s school psychologist.
The trial continues.