Mother confesses to torturing Arnhem toddler in court hearing
A 45-year-old mother and 36-year-old stepfather are accused of horribly abusing a then 3-year-old girl, Lisa. They left the girl outside, naked in the could, rubbed pepper in her eyes and gagged her if she screamed too much. The mother confessed to the abuse in the court of Arnhem on Wednesday, though maintains that it was the stepfather who tortured the now 5-year-old girl, not her, AD reports.
The police got invovled in this case on a cold autumn day in 2015. A resident of Het Broek saw a young girl standing in his neighbor's garden wearing nothing but her underwear. When he saw the girl being drenched in water, he called the community police officer. Investigation revealed that this was just the latest of the tortures the toddler survived, according to the Public Prosecutor. Pepper was rubbed in her eyes, her hands and feet were tied with duct tape, she had a rag stuffed in her mouth. The little girl's mouth was covered with duct tape once when she did not want to eat a peanut butter sandwhich. And she was repeatedly beaten in her face and on her buttocks.
Lisa still lives with her mother, who broke up with the stepfather after she filed charges of abuse against him. In court she admitted that the torture happened, but that it was the stepfather. According to her, the stepfather felt that Lisa should be brought up in a stricter environment and started doling out hefty punishments that were increasingly extreme.
The stepfather, who disappeared without a trace a while back, previously told the police that it was the mother who tortured Lisa, not him. Eyewitnesses also said that the mother constantly hit Lisa, who often had bruises. "Lisa was frightened of everything. She was as scared as a weasel", according to one eyewitness statement read in court.
The judge asked the mother why she did not call for help earlier. "You could've asked for help, but you always denied the abuse. You said Lisa fell down stairs etc." the judge said. The mother replied that the stepfather threatened her and her other children.
The Public Prosecutor feels nothing for the mother's excuses and blames her for lying to the emergency services time and again. "Not intervening in abuse is in this case regarded as complicity. So it does not matter who did the abuse", the Prosecutor said. "The mother says that she had no choice, but as far as I'm concerned that's utter nonsense. There were numerous times that she could have said: things are wrong in my home. She did not."
The Prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 12 months, 8 of which conditionally suspended, against the mother. "A long prison sentence would have far-reaching consequences for Lisa. It is much more important now that she gets the right treatment. That the sentence is largely conditional serves as a stick behind the door." the Prosecutor said.
Part of the Prosecutor's demand is that the mother adhere to numerous strict conditions. "To ensure that Lisa has a safe home." A psychologist advised that the mother and Lisa live supervised, because ther is a risk of recurrence.
For the stepfather, the Prosecutor demanded 12 months in prison. He refused to cooperate. The stepfather's current whereabouts are unknown, but the trial against him continues in his absence.
The court will rule in two weeks time.