Springs Monster’s ex is everything I want, says his cousin
New love gushes about their future life after judge sends child abuser away for 35 years
The ex-wife of the so-called “Springs Monster”, who terrorised and abused their five children for years, is “not a bad woman”, her new fiance told Times Select on Wednesday.
Jan Coetzee, her newfound love and also a cousin of the “Springs Monster”, spoke excitedly about the life ahead of them now that sentencing has been handed down. She escaped with a five-year suspended sentence.
“She is a wonderful woman and I am happy about the sentence. Now we can move on and start our life together. From the time that we have been together, she has just been good to me,” Coetzee said.
The former couple were exposed in 2014 when one of their children – a boy who was 11 years old at the time – fled to their neighbour’s house for help one night in a desperate attempt to escape an assault by his father.
Judge Eben Jordaan sentenced the man to an effective 35 years in prison, while the woman received the suspended sentence. The couple, who divorced in 2016, cannot be named because that would identify their children.
The man has also since found a new girlfriend. He reportedly met her while she was visiting another prisoner.
The judge said he agreed with a psychologist who testified that the father is a sadist and a psychopath.
“No child asks to be born and it is the duty of the parent to look after his or her child. None of the five children were cared for,” said Jordaan.
Coetzee said the case, which has been dragging on for a few years, had affected his fiance “heavily”.
“She couldn’t sleep in the evenings and cried a lot. She is not a bad woman, she is just reserved and broken inside. I am working on it to get her on the right path again.”
He said their relationship had received tremendous support from his family.
“The family is helping her to read and write, so she will come right. She suffered a lot in the past, but she still loves her children. They [children] will eventually come back and see her again, because at the end of the day it’s still their mother. She loves her children unconditionally.”
Coetzee said she “is everything I want in a woman”.
He also described his cousin as a good man who, over the years, turned into a violent person.
“It is a long time that he will be sitting in jail, but it will also give him time to reflect on what he has done,” Coetzee said.
In an affidavit dated September 26, the boy, who is now 15, described in detail the hate he feels for his father.
“If I could have, I would have killed him myself. I hate him a lot.
“When I think about him, I hate everything about him. He never loved me. I wish I could get another surname. I do not want to be anything of his any more. I do not want to be his son. Someone once told me I look like him. I became very angry,” the boy said.
During a previous sitting the court heard how the children were blowtorched, pepper-sprayed, tied up in the house and handcuffed.
The children had no friends, did not attend school, slept on dirty mattresses and ate noodles, bread and hot chips.
The daughter said in her affidavit that she never wanted to see her parents again.
Now 20 years old, she said she had to look after her brothers and sisters at home. They spent the whole day watching television and were exposed to pornography. Their parents used drugs.
“So many things happened and I now know it was not supposed to be like that. My father raped me, it is something that I can’t talk about – he stole something from me. I can’t say I hate him, I forgave him, but will never forget,” she said.
She is currently a matriculant.
A close friend of the father, who had supported him throughout his time in jail, said they accepted the sentence.
“I am very angry that the woman got a lighter sentence. She knew from the start what was happening in the house. Now she is still outside of prison and living a ‘lekker’ life. That’s not right,” said the father’s friend, who did not want to be identified.
“She had several opportunities to ask for help from outside, but she didn’t. She couldn’t just have written the word ‘help’ on a piece of paper and have given it to someone? It takes nothing to do that.”
The friend, an elderly woman, said the father was expecting a heavier sentence, but they would continue to support him.
“She [the mother] did not shed one tear when the judge told her that her children never wanted to see her ever again. I feel that he deserved the sentence, but she doesn’t.”
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said they welcomed the sentence for the parents.
“We believe that the sentence sends a strong message to parents out there who neglect their kids, who abuse their kids, to remind them that they are the primary caregivers of their children,” Mjonondwane said.