A man who tried to kill himself after he was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend’s one-year-old child was well enough to make a brief appearance the Cape Town Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
Ameeruddien Peters, 26, as well as the child’s mother, Abigail Ruiters, 30, face charges relating to Jeremiah Ruiters' death on Monday.
Peters was charged with murder and Abigail faces a charge of contravening the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005.
The Children's Act governs the laws relating to the care, contact and the protection of children. It defines the parental responsibilities and rights. It makes provision for the establishment of Children’s Courts (although the High Court is seen as the upper guardian) and the appointment of welfare (social workers and child care experts) officers. The Act also regulates the establishment of places of safety, orphanages and the rights of orphans and it sets out the laws for their adoption. In all cases, the guiding principle is the best interests of the child.
It’s alleged that Peters beat and stabbed little Jeremiah before taking him to a local clinic where he was declared dead on arrival.
Medical staff at the Kensington Clinic said Jeremiah had serious head and body injuries, including stab wounds to his neck and arms.
State prosecutor, Ebrahim Adams, asked the court to move Peters to the hospital section of prison for his own safety, following his suicide attempt in a holding cell on Monday night.
Standing in the dock, Peters wore a cream hoodie with a blue fleece blanket wrapped around his lower body.
Abigail, dressed in a jeans and hoodie, stood with her arms folded — it seemed like she was in a trance.
“Accused one (Peters) is charged with murder, while accused two (Ruiters) is charged with contravening section 305 Act 38 of 2005 (Children’s Act),” said Adams who asked for a postponement.
“The State also asks the court for accused one to be moved to the hospital section of the prison as it is pictured in news articles the accused slit his wrists. The accused did receive medical treatment for this,” Adams stated.
Both Peters and Ruiters, who is six months pregnant with her fourth child, opted for legal aid.
The pair has been together for over a year.
The matter was postponed to 21 June for bail information and both accused are to remain in custody until their next court date.
Speaking outside court, Abigail’s father, Pastor Ronald Ruiters, says their family has been rocked by the death of little Jeremiah.
“We as a family are destroyed. I don’t think any person in his right mind would be okay,” said Ronald.
“I said even with my daughter, where child negligence is concerned, the law must take its course. I would say they should give her a bail, being a first time offender.”
Abigail Ruiters left Jeremiah in the care of her boyfriend, an alleged drug addict, while she went to work.
Ronald says Jeremiah’s father did not want to be part of his life, and his daughter “went for someone who she thought could be a fatherly figure to her children”.
“He [Peters] pretended to be a nice guy, he was silent and made as if everything was okay.”
Pastor Ruiters says funeral arrangements for his grandson cannot be disclosed as this time.
“I am not going to say anything now about the funeral because I first have to speak to her (Abigail), to ask what she wants, what her plans are,” the oupa added.