A woman was arrested for attempted murder after she recorded herself choking and assaulting her son.
Durban – Children’s rights activists are calling for a young Newcastle mother to undergo intense psychological evaluation, after she was arrested for attempted murder when she recorded herself choking and assaulting her 2-year-old son.
It was the child’s father who reported her to the police after she sent him the videos as a threat to never leave her.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, was granted bail on Monday at the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court.
In two separate videos, the mother is seen lying on the bed with her son, who is crying hysterically while she is slapping him on his face, pinching his face and buttocks and kicking his head. The video is over two minutes long.
The video starts with the mother pinching the baby’s lips together and slapping him on the face repeatedly. She is then seen smashing his face against the bed and holding his head down in an attempt to suffocate the child. The child manages to wriggle around, but she then turns him over and starts to choke him.
A minute into the video, the child is seen standing up and trying to get away, but the mother grabs him and pushes him down on the bed, trying to strangle him. Dressed only in a disposable nappy and a shirt, she pinches the child on his face, thighs and buttocks.
In the second video, the woman has the child’s head between her legs and pushes her fingers into his mouth. The child can be heard making choking sounds in-between his tearful screams. In that 30-second video, she also pinches the child’s lips together and places her hand around his neck. The videos were recorded on January 8.
Emotional police officers from the Newcastle family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit (FCS), who handled the case, said that while all cases in their field were difficult, watching the videos proved “tough for even the strongest officers”.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the child was seen struggling to breathe and crying hysterically.
“The matter was reported to the Newcastle FCS, which immediately started the case and arrested the suspect. The child was taken immediately to the hospital for medical attention and is reported to be well. The child is currently placed with the father,” Mbhele said.
Operation Bobbi Bear’s Jackie Branfield commended the officers for effecting the arrest immediately and placing the child in a place of safety.
A lobbyist for children’s rights, Branfield said the woman should not be allowed near her child until she has undergone psychological analysis and treatment. “To use that sort of manipulation is inexcusable,” she said.
Branfield said women needed to stop trying to control men by having a baby with them, “which is tantamount to abuse”.
“For trying to murder her two-year-old baby, recording it on video and sending it out, she needs to be confined to a mental institution,” she said.
Community and social activist Alvin Brijlal said that society and government were failing to protect children.
He said that circumstances surrounding the mother’s mental state was not yet known, and that could have played a role in her abusive actions.
“Some people don’t know how to deal with stress when it comes to love and relationships. I have dealt with cases where people said they blacked out and cannot even remember doing what they did,” he said.
He condemned the mother’s abusive acts, saying it was shocking, the level people would go to, to get back at their partners.
Brijlal added that the government’s social services were lacking in dealing with people with mental disorders.