Two women accused of dunking 1-year-old in boiling water
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) suspects two women of the aggravated assault of a 1-year-old toddler in a Rotterdam home. The girl suffered second and third-degree burns on February 1 after her forearms were allegedly dunked in a bucket of boiling water.
In the preceding six months, the girl's hands were allegedly tied behind her back, she was beaten, and she was not given enough food and drink. The girl became seriously malnourished, a doctor found after the injured toddler was taken to Maasstad Hospital during the early hours of February 2.
The child abuse suspects are the girl’s mother and Line W. (51), with whom the mother and toddler lived. The mother was previously provisionally released from custody. In statements to the police and Youth Protection, she pointed to W. as the perpetrator.
In turn, W. vehemently denied the accusations against her during a pro-forma hearing in the Dordrecht court on Thursday. “I’m in jail for something I didn’t do. Whoever did it is on the loose, and I’m in jail,” she told the judges, who had to decide whether to extend her pre-trial detention.
The OM believes that W. was looking after the toddler during the abuse, but according to the lawyer, that’s not true. “She had only provided housing for the co-defendant and her daughter.”
By questioning several witnesses, the lawyer hopes to prove the possible innocence of his client. “Three witnesses have separately stated that the mother neglected her duty. She defaulted and tied up her daughter.”
Two of the witnesses would also have been in the house when someone pushed the toddler’s arms in boiling water. One of those witnesses is W.’s 7-year-old son, who, according to her lawyer, she was putting to bed when it happened at 11:00 p.m. “When she put her son to bed, she couldn’t be there when the incident with the bucket took place,’ the lawyer said.
The judges agreed to hear two witnesses and the pediatrician but thought it unnecessary to burden the 7-year-old child with that “at this stage.” The OM must also make clear who called the hospital at what time about the burns and where the suspects were.
The court extended W.’s pre-trial detention by three months. The trial will resume on November 1.
Reporting by ANP