Cape Town – The family of a man accused of killing his girlfriend’s one-year-old daughter has claimed the infant’s mother is responsible for her death.
A week after little Asheeqah Scott was beaten and burnt to death, her alleged killer, Peter van Tonder’s father says his son would never have harmed the baby. Instead he claims Asheeqah died after repeatedly being abused.The 35-year-old man, who has been in police holding cells since his arrest last week, was choked and beaten by fellow inmates.
But Van Tonder’s father, who doesn’t want to be identified, claims his son handed himself over to the police last Tuesday and that police didn’t arrest him at work as was first reported.
Police believe Van Tonder beat and burnt the infant with cigarettes at his home in Kalossie Street, Roosendal, Delft, on Saturday, September 3.
The child’s mother, Shakiera Scott, 24, told police she asked Van Tonder to look after Asheeqah while she carried out chores at home.
The couple had been dating for five months.
Last week autopsy results revealed Asheeqah died of bleeding on the brain. She suffered broken ribs and had old and new wounds to her tiny body.
On Sunday, the father spoke of Asheeqah’s final hours in the care of his son, claiming the child was already ill.
The accused’s father says his son fetched him at work and Asheeqah was in the car. He told Van Tonder to take the child back to her mother.
The father says his son returned the child to Shakiera and seven hours later she asked him again to watch the infant.
This while he claims she sat drinking with friends.
He says later that Saturday, he was woken by screams outside and Shakiera calling for someone to take her baby to hospital.
The baby passed away at Red Cross children’s hospital the next day.
The accused’s father says his son is suffering behind bars at the hands of fellow inmates.
Asheeqah’s grandmother, Farieda Scott, 62, admits her daughter drinks, but says his family is desperate to shift the blame.
“Yes my daughter takes a drink and I will not say she isn’t a bit negligent, but I am always watching her,” she said.
“My daughter would never harm her child; he must know there are two witnesses who saw him hit the child twice, now they want to push the blame on her.”
Van Tonder made his first appearance at the Bellville Magistrates’ Court last week and will be back on September 15 after requesting medical assistance for an attack by inmates.