The brutal murder and abuse case of 18-month-old Jeremiah Ruiters has finally seen justice served, according to Cheslyn Steenberg of the Wake Up Kensington Campaign. On Wednesday, Ameerodien Peters was convicted in the Western Cape High Court for raping and murdering young Jeremiah on June 24 2017 and the young boy’s mother, Abigail Ruiters, was convicted on one count of child neglect. Sentencing proceedings for Peters and Ruiters are set to begin on 11 February 2020.
State pathologist, Dr Marna du Plessis, described in detail to the court the brutality Peters inflicted upon Jeremiah. The following was suffered by the little boy:
- 40 rib fractures
- Lacerations to the mouth and a broken nose that was a few weeks old – intentionally inflicted by a direct blow to the face
- Bruised organs and bleeding around the heart lining, kidneys, intestines and genitals
- A broken spinal column in his lower back (suggesting someone had placed him on his stomach and jumped onto his back)
- Bite and scratch marks all over his body
- Bleeding under the skin all over his head
Times Live reports that ultimately it was blunt-force trauma which killed Jeremiah – apparently as though he was picked up by his feet and dropped straight down onto his head.
“I think justice has been served. After the judgement, a lot of comments were made… but we honour the court for coming to that conclusion,” said Cheslyn Steenberg.
“This entire case sends a very strong message to parents to say that you cannot just leave your child with anyone and expect that person to treat the child as if it’s his or her own…Yesterday I said to the community that when they say it takes a village to raise a child, we truly should embrace that belief and say ‘This child is mine, even though I didn’t give birth to the child’.”
Steenberg says that heartbreakingly, the community failed Jeremiah and continues to fail other abused children.
“The community failed him and the community is also currently failing other children being abused by saying nothing about it… The residents around the house were aware of the abuse and reached out to social workers, the family and the father of the baby – but of course it was too late.”
Steenberg stressed that Peters should not be allowed around children at any point in the future and indicated that should Peters apply for parole, the community will contest it.
“As a community we are not going to allow our kids to be abused,” he declared.
“I can assure you, we will try our best to keep the memory of this little fighter alive.”