Gauteng mom collapses in court after seeing pictures of son's body

Johannesburg – A mother collapsed in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg after she was asked to look at graphic pictures of her deceased three-year-old son, who she is accused of killing.

Her advocate, Mario Coetzee told the court on Tuesday that the woman had collapsed in one of the toilets during a short break.

The mother and her ex-boyfriend are accused of the murder and abuse of the three-year-old.  

She had been testifying on Tuesday when her lawyer showed her pictures of her son and asked if she was aware of some of the bruises visible in the photograph.

However, the court had to adjourn as the woman wept.

"I haven’t seen the pictures in colour and it was the first time that I looked at them today," she told the court, adding that she felt emotional.  

The court postponed the case to Wednesday to give her time to compose herself.  

During her evidence-in-chief, the 29-year-old cried as she told the court that her ex-boyfriend allegedly attacked her.

The woman said that, at one point, he pressed her to a corner, and "took his fists and squeezed them between my neck and the chin".

"I was scared and there was nothing I could do. I did not understand what was happening…he was very aggressive," she said.

She also alleged that, during the incident, the ex-boyfriend allegedly told her that: "I fucked him up good this time," referring to the little boy.

She added that, when she checked her son, she was shocked to see that he looked "completely different".

"On the right side of his cheek there was a strange mark and it was not there previously," she told the court.

The court also heard that, on March 31, 2016, the boy had sustained a femur fracture. But the woman testified that he had fallen from the tree.

In the indictment, the State alleges that, while the boy was in the care of the accused in March - he sustained "none-accidental high impact injury inflicted by the accused".  

"The deceased, during the early hours of the 25th of June 2016, was forced in his bed, having already passed away," read the indictment.   

"The accused allegedly assaulted the deceased with blunt force objects and burnt him with hot water.

"The two accused during the commission of the assault acted in the furtherance of a common purpose," it said.  

It also alleged that the accused had failed to provide the deceased with medical assistance.