Pretoria – Strange and inexplicable incidents occurred at the home of three anguished young children before they finally told their mother about being tortured by a group of satanists, the Pretoria High Court heard on Thursday.
The mother of the seven-year-old girl and her nine-year-old and 11-year-old brothers testified on Thursday in the trial of Robin Malcolm Claasen (38). Claasen is accused of abducting, raping and molesting the children over a period of nine months in 2000. He has pleaded not guilty.
For the past month the three children have been testifying in camera through an intermediary. It is alleged that Claasen tied up and raped, sodomised, indecently assaulted, and tortured the children at various locations in Pretoria’s city centre.
This included allegedly cutting crosses with a knife on the 11-year-old boy’s wrists.
The mother, who used to work long hours, testified that the children had developed behavioural and emotional problems as a result of her former husband and fiancé abusing her.
Their behaviour, however, had deteriorated in 2000, when the girl starting bedwetting more often, while the older boy suffered more headaches. The third child had stress related head and stomach aches.
All three had recurring nightmares about their father assaulting their mother, and they told her about more nightmares featuring things with ugly heads and fangs.
She noticed the crosses carved on her 11-year-old son’s wrists and once saw blue marks on his back, but he told her he had injured himself with wire and that he had been given a hiding at school, which was denied by the school.
One time, the boy brought home the skeleton of a goat’s head. When she found it in his cupboard, she flung it out of the window, but a while later the boy told his mother that black things came out of the cupboard at night.
He set a trap with a string and a broomstick and they waited in the living room. Later they heard a loud noise and realised that the electricity had been switched off.
Inside her son’s room, they found the broom on the floor and a strange, glowing green powder on the string and on the floor.
Another night she woke up to the sound of a loud crash. Rushing to her son’s room, she found the cupboard door had flown off its hinges and landed on her son’s bed.
The mother only realised that something was seriously wrong after being called in for a meeting with the school psychologist who was treating the children.
That same evening, she sat down on the bed with all three children and started talking to them about Aids. The children then told her about what had happened to them – things that shocked her and sounded unreal.
“They were so anxious when they told these things to me that I realised they were telling the truth. It felt to me as if they were trying to tell me that they were afraid and did not know how to handle it,” she told the court.
“I told them we had to go to the police and we all walked to the police station together. I told the police there might be satanists involved and that the children might have been molested sexually,” she added.
“I gave them descriptions of more than one person. The children said there were many people, men and women, but one of them was the boss. They described a man with long hair, tattoos and earrings.”
Despite this, the family did not hear anything from the police for several weeks and when she phoned was told that the file had been lost.
She filed a second charge months later.