The woman who found love with the Springs Mon­ster

He’s been jailed for 35 years for abus­ing his chil­dren but that doesn’t seem to bother the new woman in his life

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY MARIZKA COETZER

THE first time she was spot­ted in court she was the source of much spec­u­la­tion, cu­rios­ity – and re­vul­sion. Who was this mys­tery woman who so ten­derly ad­justed the tie of a man ac­cused of such heinous crimes? The woman who kissed him in the dock, held his hand dur­ing breaks in pro­ceed­ings and whis­pered words of en­cour­age­ment in his ear? Who was she – and how could she? This, af­ter all, was the Springs Mon­ster, a man who’d raped his el­dest daugh­ter when she was 16, tried to kill his el­dest son when he was 11, and tor­tured and abused his other three chil­dren too.

In fact, the things this man had done in the so-called house of hor­rors in Springs on Gaut­eng’s East Rand were so ap­palling that, on the day of these ro­man­tic flour­ishes in court, Judge Eben Jor­daan sen­tenced him to 67 years be­hind bars.

His var­i­ous jail terms – for rape, at­tempted mur­der, child ne­glect, pos­ses­sion of drugs, ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and ob­struct­ing the po­lice – are to be served con­cur­rently, which means he’ll be in jail ef­fec­tively for 35 years. He will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role only af­ter 30 years – in 2048, which feels like a life­time for the woman who says she loves him.

She was present in court too when the judge called the man – who may not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of his chil­dren – a psy­chopath and a sadist. And she sat right be­hind him as a state­ment from his son was read out in which he said he would’ve killed his fa­ther if it had been within his power to do so.

It was thanks to this boy that his fa­ther’s atro­cious deeds be­came pub­lic. In 2014 he man­aged to es­cape the house, bruised and with black­ened eyes, to seek help. The po­lice were alerted and the whole sor­did tale un­rav­elled.

In his chill­ing state­ment, the boy, now 15, said, “I hate ev­ery­thing about him. He never loved me and I don’t want to be his son. Some­one once said I looked like him. It made me very an­gry. If I could, I would’ve killed him my­self. Some­times I won­der why I’m still alive.”

YET to the woman who’s fallen for him, he’s no mon­ster. “He’s told me he has re­morse about the ter­ri­ble things he did,” she says. “I care about him a lot. He makes me feel good.” She’s speak­ing to us in the con­sult­ing rooms of the West Rand doc­tor’s rooms where she works as a re­cep­tion­ist.

In be­tween she at­tends to pa­tients and an­swers the phone, dash­ing out for a smoke when there’s a lull in her du­ties.

No, she didn’t fol­low cov­er­age of the trial, she tells us. And she first went to court to sup­port her love two days be­fore he was sen­tenced on 3 Oc­to­ber.

It was the first time since they’d be­came friendly nine months ago that they’d kissed, hugged and held hands. Now she doesn’t know when they’ll be able to touch each other again.

She doesn’t want to her iden­tity made pub­lic or say too much about her per­sonal life be­cause she has two tod­dlers to pro­tect, the forty-some­thing woman says. She adds she’s es­tranged from her hus­band and he’s been giv­ing her “a hard time” since the sen­tenc­ing, when she was seen on the news.

Her first en­counter with the Springs Mon­ster was a co­in­ci­dence, she tells us, her roughly chopped dark fringe hang­ing over her eyes.

About nine months ago she ac­com­pa­nied a friend to Kgosi Mam­puru II Prison in Pre­to­ria to visit an­other in­mate. Au­thor­i­ties also signed out the in­mate’s friend and fel­low pris­oner for a visit. It was the Springs man. Be­fore the meet­ing she’d heard about the things he’d done to his wife and chil­dren but she hadn’t fol-

lowed the case in much de­tail.

“We just clicked from the start,” she says. “He told me why he was in jail. That was when I re­alised I was look­ing into the eyes of the so-called Springs Mon­ster. I was shocked.”

But de­spite her ini­tial shock they quickly be­came friends and he be­gan call­ing her from the prison phone. She usu­ally vis­ited him ev­ery sec­ond week in Pre­to­ria. Her cell­phone rings. It’s him. “Hello, bokkie,” she says, then turns away to con­duct the rest of the con­ver­sa­tion in pri­vate.

When the call is over she’s tear­ful. An ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal against his sen­tence was turned down, she says.

“I spend a lot of time think­ing about what came out in court. Es­pe­cially about the fact the judge said he’s a psy­chopath and a sadist.

“That hurts be­cause it’s not the man I’ve come to know.”

SHE doesn’t know if she’ll be able to wait for him for 30 years. Nei­ther of them ex­pected such a tough sen­tence. The con­victed man tells us by phone he’s shat­tered. “Now that I’ve met some­one who re­ally loves me and wants to be with me, this has hap­pened. Now I can’t be with her be­cause I’m sit­ting in­side. I love her so much, but I’ll never be able to be with her.”

The woman grows quiet and takes a drag of her cig­a­rette.

“Peo­ple can crit­i­cise me if they wish, but that’s how things are,” she says.

“Put him with peo­ple who re­spect, ap­pre­ci­ate and love him, and he’s an­other per­son.” S

S The ex-wife of the Springs Mon­ster was sen­tenced to five years in jail, sus­pended

‘He’s told me he has re­morse about the ter­ri­ble things he did’

for five years. The judge found she was an abused woman and a vic­tim of her cir­cum­stances. In 2016 she di­vorced her hus­band and she’s since be­come en­gaged to his cousin.

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