A HARARE man allegedly assaulted his three-year-old stepdaughter until he broke her arm before hanging her upside-down on a door while naked for three hours for not greeting him.
The 20-year-old man from Epworth threatened to beat up his wife if she untied the toddler who was crying for help.
He appeared before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe charged with two counts of ill-treating a child.
However, his trial hit a snag as the mother of the child cannot be located after she ran away in a bid to save the accused.
The accused’s neighbour, a police officer who rescued the minor, informed the prosecutor, Ms Francesca Mukumbiri, that the toddler’s mother said she did not want to testify against her husband, fearing that he could be jailed.
The accused is in custody pending trial.
It is the State’s case that on March 16 at around 6am, the accused took a cooking stick and hit the toddler on her left arm for no reason.
Due to the assault, the minor sustained a swollen arm and did not receive any medical attention.
The stepfather then left home and returned in the evening.
When he returned home around 9pm, the State alleges, he started shouting at the toddler accusing her of not greeting him on time.
The accused, the court heard, removed the toddler’s clothes and took his belt which he used to tie her legs together.
He then fastened the belt at the back of the door with the child hanging upside-down.
The child cried for help and when her mother tried to untie her, he stopped her and threatened to assault her, the State alleged.
He went to sleep at around 11pm, leaving the toddler still suspended.When his wife noticed that he had fallen asleep, she then rushed to alert their neighbour, a police officer.
Together with the police officer and other neighbours, the toddler’s mother went back home and untied the minor before wrapping her in a blanket as she was shivering.
According to the State, the accused has a pending case of a similar nature before a Mbare magistrate.