The Bhisho high court heard chilling testimony on Monday from a woman who found her 15-month-old granddaughter crying “like she was in shock”.
A 62-year-old Mdantsane man is standing trial for raping the toddler.
He is out on bail.
The woman, the wife of the accused, told judge Belinda Hartle that the child’s nappy had been bloodied when she found her on October 18 2018.
The woman said she had been at home with the child the whole day.
She said she had washed her at about 5pm and found her to be healthy.
Her husband, she said, had fallen asleep in front of the television watching his favourite show, Uzalo.
“I asked him why he slept when the show was on. He said he was tired and wanted to go to bed,” she told the court.
The child was asleep in the couple’s bed. She usually slept between her and her husband.
She said when her husband went to the room to sleep, the door had been slightly ajar.
She could see her granddaughter sleeping alongside her husband.
“I prepared two [feeding bottles] for her while watching TV. It was after 9pm then,” she said.
When she went to her granddaughter in the bedroom, “she didn’t cry in a normal way”.
“She has a soft voice. She cried like she was shocked, in a strange manner.
She said she had then asked her stepdaughter, who was also in the house, to take one of the feeding bottles to her because “I thought she was crying for it”.
When the grandmother went to bed after finishing watching television at about 10pm, the toddler had now been positioned above her husband’s head on the pillow.
When she checked her nappy, she found it “covered in blood”.
She then woke her husband to ask him what had happened to the child.
“He asked, ‘What happened about what?’ I asked him if he had raped the child. He said how could I ask him such a thing, why I would think so badly of him.
“I told him we should take the baby to the hospital, but he refused.”
At that point she decided to call the baby’s father and he took them to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.
She said there the baby was found to have a cut close to her genitals.
The woman described her husband as a calm and caring person.
“I don’t know him as an abusive person.”
She has since moved out of their marital home.
During cross-examination, the accused’s lawyer, Hennie Erasmus, said his client would testify that he had never raped the child.
The grandmother answered: “I have no comment on that. Only experts will comment. Everything will be clarified in court.”
The woman’s stepdaughter also took the stand on Monday.
She told the court that when she went into her father’s bedroom to give the child her bottle, the baby had been under the covers with him.
When she returned to the bedroom later, the baby had moved closer to the headboard and her body was covered with the blanket from the waist down.
She, too, had watched television until 10pm, and retired to her bedroom. That was when her stepmother called her to look at the bloodied nappy, she said.
“There was blood,” she said.
She said no-one else had gone to the room except her and her stepmother.
Erasmus asked her if she would have noticed if anything had happened to the baby. She said she would.
However, when questioned on whether she thought there had been anything unusual about the baby’s cries, she said there had not.
Erasmus asked her about her reaction when she saw blood on the baby’s nappy.
“I was shocked,” she said. “[I was thinking] there is no way blood can just come out.”
The trial continues on Tuesday.