A Phoenix man accused of viciously beating the four-year-old daughter of his lover has asked to be placed in protective custody after his car was torched and his life was threatened.
In an exclusive interview with TimesLIVE‚ the 20-year-old man’s parents told of how they were living in fear – worried that their own neighbors would torch their home.
The family has not been named to protect the identity of the child.
“All we can do now is pray‚ but we are just waiting for people to come back and set our house on fire‚” the suspect’s mother said.
She said that on Thursday night she and her husband had noticed a car near the side of their flat in the township.
“We thought it was coming to drop people‚ and the next thing we heard a bang and looked outside and the car [used by their son] was on fire. We managed to put it out but we can’t drive it now‚” she said.
“My son was such a good boy and now he’s gone and messed his life up.”
Her husband‚ who runs a small take-away‚ said that they had also received threats.
“People have told us that they want to set my shop on fire and that they want to come and burn our house. My son is going now to the police station because he is not safe and we need him to be put in protective custody‚” he said.
The man added that his son had been staying in a place of safety in Stanger‚ but after the petrol bombing at their home had prompted him “hand himself over”.
“People need to hear our side as well‚” he said.
The threats appear to follow the leaking of a video clip which shows the mother punching and kicking her daughter. The video‚ apparently filmed by the mother’s boyfriend‚ has since gone viral.
According to police‚ the girl was thrashed to the point where she fell unconscious – all because she scuffed her mother’s boyfriend’s shoes.
The couple was arrested on February 28 and appeared in court the following day facing charges of assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that the charges were later amended to attempted murder.
“A 25-year-old woman was at her home with her four-year-old child and her boyfriend. It is alleged that the four-year-old accidentally tramped the boyfriend’s shoes and as a result he began to assault the child by punching her and also threw her against a cabinet‚” she said.
“It is further alleged that the boyfriend threatened to kill the complainant if she did not assault the victim as well.”
She said that the child was rushed to a local clinic and thereafter transferred to a hospital for medical attention.
They will appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s court next week.