Durban – Pink lace panties lay draped over a child’s colouring book stands as a jarring juxtaposition in a dank room where a 10-year-old girl lived with her step-father – a man accused of raping‚ sexually assaulting and grooming her.
Light bleeds through holes in the corrugated iron roof‚ the only source of illumination in a single room on a hillside in Buffelsdraai.
It was in this room‚ with a bolted door and windows blacked out with newspaper‚ where the mechanic is alleged to have raped the girl repeatedly‚ sexually assaulted her and groomed her for sexual activity by showing her pornography.
The 44-year-old man‚ whose identity has been withheld to protect that of his stepdaughter‚ appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s court on Thursday.
Now‚ following the man’s arrest‚ the room has been upturned by police detectives.
Flotsam lies scattered about the floor. The door has been broken in. Homework notes on fractions are now dusty underfoot.
Residents entered his home and found several sex toys‚ lingerie and pornographic videos.
Neighbours have told of how the girl’s screams had risen from the room at night‚ with the child allegedly shouting‚ “Daddy you’re hurting me”.
The man was detained twice this week‚ on Monday and Tuesday‚ after neighbours alerted a private security company.
Roopnand Dhanukdhari‚ who lives 10m away from the house of horrors‚ said: “I was in my house and I could hear the child screaming. The neighbour took the child away that [Monday] night. He kept her fulltime indoors and the only time we would see her was with him.”
The horror the child is alleged to have been subjected to came to light on Monday night when the man was detained by a private security company.
The child reportedly lifted the lid on her life of terror when she told a neighbour about what was happening to her. The neighbour rallied a group of women who set upon the man when he returned home from work.
As he was beaten‚ members of the mob searched his home and emerged with lingerie‚ sex toys and pornographic DVDs.
The man was formally arrested on Tuesday morning after a private security company had first detained him on Monday.
He was handed over to police on Monday‚ but a formal case was not opened. Instead‚ the man was taken to hospital but not placed under police guard – and‚ as such‚ was able to leave the hospital on his own.
On Tuesday‚ the same security company found him at a local cement factory and again detained him. He was handed over to police‚ and has been in custody since.
Angry community members assaulted the man during both detentions.
While the police officer who failed to open the case on Monday is now facing disciplinary action‚ the injured stepfather has been remanded in custody‚ and will appear in court on June 25. TimesLIVE