Cape Town – The man accused of raping and killing his girlfriend’s one-year-old son on Tuesday took the stand in his own defence at the Western Cape High Court.
But whether Ameeroedien Peters’ apparent emotional and “tearful” testimony will convince the judge of his innocence is another story.
Peters, 28, gave his version of events leading up to the death of little Jeremiah Ruiters in June 2017.
Peters and the child’s mother, Abigail Ruiters, 31, are on trial for the rape and murder of the boy at their home in Salamander Square, Kensington.
Peters took the child to the local clinic, where the tot was declared dead on arrival.
The cause of death was established as multiple blunt force trauma.
Ruiters is charged with murder and child neglect under the Children’s Act.
The couple is facing two more charges of child abuse with regards to Ruiters’ two surviving children.
According to Peters, on the fateful day, he was cleaning their Wendy house when Jeremiah fell asleep on his older sister’s bed.
“Something told me, ‘Ameer, turn around and look at him’, normally Jeremiah sleeps stretched out, this time he was shrivelling himself up small and shivering.
“I didn’t know what to do, he was just breathing heavily,” Peters testified.
He claims he immediately grabbed the boy and ran to the clinic, but on his way there he fell on the child.
“I was holding his head and stomach tightly to my chest at the time. I fell on top of him.
“He rolled out under me and he lay in the ditch between the pavement and road.”
Peters claims nurses refused to assist and he placed Jeremiah on a bed and lost his temper.
“I started swearing. I then begged the coloured nurse to help and I went literally down on my knees. The nurse could not find a pulse. They started giving him CPR.
“They called an ambulance. Paramedics came and three minutes later a paramedic told the nurse: ‘Sorry, nurse, we did not find a pulse’,” Peters said as he broke down, wiping invisible tears from his eyes.
The court then adjourned as he needed “five minutes” to compose himself.
When he came back, he testified that Ruiters arrived at the clinic and he whispered in her ear what had happened.
He said she cried and wanted to pick up Jeremiah, but was stopped.
According to Peters, he also did not try to commit suicide in the Kensington police cells.
He said he cut himself with a screw across his wrists out of anger because a cop refused to believe that Ruiters was pregnant with his child at the time.
“After I came from hospital, I was taken to Maitland station,” he testified.
“I asked for food, they ignored me. I was looking for my co-accused, but she was not there.”
He claimed cops came into his cell later that night and threw off his bedding.
“They lightly bullied me and said: ‘jy’s mos ’* kindermishandelaar’.
“They made me undress myself, handcuffed me to a bar and left the cell door open.
“It was raining that night. I was lying naked on the floor with a piece of paper under me.
“Abigail saw everything. Before shift change they told me to dress and make my bed.”
When asked whether he had killed or raped Jeremiah, he hesitated before saying: “No, I did not.”