A woman recalled in the Durban High Court yesterday how her mother and sister allegedly abused a toddler who was later found dead.
Roxanne Ishwarlal testified that Jamie Naidoo, 3, was often tied to a bunk bed and forced to wear a nappy with curry powder in it.
“They used strings to tie her up to the steel poles of the bunk bed every night. They then put curry on the diaper and made her wear it. When I asked why they did that, they told me [that way] she cannot play with her private parts,” she told Judge Mohini Moodley.
Ishwarlal said the toddler cried all night because of the discomfort.
“Vagina is a very sensitive part [of the body], so I could understand why she cried uncontrollably.
“I pleaded with them that if they never wanted the child they must give it to welfare services.”
The little girl’s mother, Patricia Ishwarlal, 33, and grandmother Salatchee Basanich, 57, were arrested after the toddler was found dead in November 2014 in Chatsworth, south of Durban.
The two allegedly assaulted her to death. Her lifeless body was discovered by neighbours, her limbs broken and with several marks of cigarette burns.
Asked by state prosecutor Meera Naidu to comment on the role that Basanich played in the abuse of the deceased, Ishwarlal replied that she once saw her mother bang Jamie’s head on the floor.
“My sister watched as Jamie was being abused. She encouraged the beating, swore and used vulgar language against the child. They even deprived her of food.”
The two have pleaded not guilty to murder, a count of rape, 13 counts of sexual assault, seven counts of failure to provide medical assistance and seven counts of child abuse.
The trial continues today.