According to shocking new court testimony, the mother of a seven-month-old baby girl allegedly beat the infant continuously for two days in an attempted exorcism.
An unnamed witness revealed the terrifying details on Wednesday during a bail application for Evelyn Jacobs. Jacobs and Emmanuel Welcome face charges in the murder of the baby.
The witness spoke in a South African magistrate’s court.
“According to the testimony of a witness who wishes to remain anonymous, on October 12, 2016, the accused (Jacobs) and a friend, Veronica, went to Welcome’s shanty,” Detective Constable Kgositsile Taolo, the investigating officer, told the court, according to Nigeria’s daily newspaper The Punch. “Jacobs had her seven-month-old baby with her at the time.”
“When they arrived at the shack, Welcome said the child was possessed by evil spirits. The mother concurred and the two accused then beat the child with open hands across her body and head,” the officer continued. “Welcome also took a Bible and started hitting the child with the Bible on her stomach. Later that night, the child could not sleep as she was in pain.”
The attack on the child continued the next day. “The witness said the next morning, she was woken up by the baby’s cries,” Taolo said. “When she looked at where the child and the mother, as well as Welcome, were sleeping, she saw them hitting the child with their open hands. She asked the two accused to stop, as they were hurting the child and could end up killing the baby.”
The two continued to abuse the baby, however. The witness said she grabbed the child, but “as she was about to leave with the child, Welcome grabbed the infant by the feet. A tug over the infant then ensued. The mother came and assisted Welcome and the two successfully managed to get the child away.”
“The mother then placed the child on the bed and handed Welcome a rope, which she instructed him to hit the child with,” the detective continued. “Jacobs took off her slippers and hit the child with the shoes. The child was crying and the witness again tried to take the child, but was unsuccessful.”
Jacobs allegedly took a leather whip called a sjambok and used it on the child. At this point, Taolo said the witness recounted being unable to stomach the abuse and left the shanty to cry. “The mother followed her and told her not to worry about the child as they saw that the child was not human but a snake.”
When the witness returned to the shack, she saw the mother feed the child milk, but she then emptied out the bottle and filled it with salt and water. “The child refused to drink the salt mixture. The mother again beat the child and Welcome took the jug containing the salt water mixture and poured it onto the child’s face.”
“The child then stretched out her hands and kicked as the water was poured onto her face,” Taolo recounted. “The mother said that it was a sign of evil spirits and that she was sticking out her tongue like a snake. The mother told the witness to step away from the child, warning her that she would suck her blood.”
After attempting to save the baby from a dog, the witness finally gave up, leaving the accused with the child.
Taolo said the witness later returned to check on the child and found that her right foot was bleeding. When she asked the mother about this injury, Jacobs responded by saying the child belonged to her. The next morning, the child started crying once again.
“The mother took a bucket with water and put salt, as well as cleaning agents, into the water,” the detective continued. “She mixed all the ingredients together and bathed the baby in it. When she took the baby from the bucket, the child’s body was stiff and foam was coming from her mouth. The police and an ambulance were then called.”
Taolo testified that the child died in a gruesome manner and asked the court not to grant Jacobs bail. “The accused has no previous record or pending cases. However, the manner in which this innocent, defenceless child died, was gruesome. This is a small child who has been robbed of her future,” the detective said.
“The accused has two other children, a six-year-old boy, and a one-year-old daughter. The children are staying with family in Pampierstad. The accused has no contact with the children and the family want it to remain that way,” Taolo said. “They fear for the safety of the children should the accused be released.”
Jacobs’ lawyer, Meghan Kleinsmith, pointed out that the mother had already been in custody for nearly a year and six months. Even so, the state lawyer Shareen Links noted that Jacobs had opted to abandon her bail awaiting the outcome of her psychiatric report, which indicated she was fit to stand trial.
Magistrate Cornelia Voster denied Jacobs’ bail application.
While the Roman Catholic Church does indeed believe demons can impact people, this “exorcism” did not follow its guidelines. The Catholic Church warns that medical explanations should be exhausted before proceeding to an exorcism. Rev. Andrew Menke, executive director of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, quoted the introduction to the rite of Exorcism in a statement to PJ Media.
“In the case of some intervention that is said to be demonic, the Exorcist should above all use the utmost circumspection and prudence as a matter of necessity,” he quoted. “First of all, he should not too easily believe that someone is possessed by a demon, when the person may be laboring under some illness, especially of a psychological nature.”
“Catholic Priests who are deputed to be exorcists regularly work with doctors and psychologists in the evaluation of the situations they encounter,” Menke concluded.
Furthermore, Catholic exorcisms involve reciting the rite and occasionally the use of holy water, not slamming a Bible on someone or forcing them to drink or bathe in salt water — and especially not forcing these things on a baby.