Mother accused of horrid child abuse testifies in court

Lenka Smyčková and Naďa Straková
17. 6. 2008 16:50
The bizarre story begins to unravel today
Mother Klára Mauerová left the courtroom today in tears
Mother Klára Mauerová left the courtroom today in tears | Foto: Attila Racek

Brno - Brno regional court was trying to disentangle today one of the most bizarre and complex cases in the history of Czech child abuse.

Some details of the story which has puzzled many for some months now have been disclosed today. 

A group of five, charged with child abuse, stood trial today headed by Judge Pavel Göth. The perpetrators were to explain why they tortured an 8-year old Ondřej and his10-year old brother Jakub. Both boys were exposed to violence and torture for nearly a year. 

The whole story began in 2007 when little Ondřej was found imprisoned in a broom cupboard with the help of a neighbor's domestic camera in a small town of Kuřim in souther Moravia.

His mother Klára Mauerová closed Ondřej in the broom cupboard naked and with tied hands, beat him and made him eat his own vomit.

Both boys were repeatedly beaten and tortured not only by their own mother but by some of the accused as well.

The face of Barbora Škrlová has haunted Czech media for over a year
The face of Barbora Škrlová has haunted Czech media for over a year | Foto: Ondřej Besperát

The accused are the boys´ mother Klára Mauerová (31), her sister Kateřina Mauerová (34), Barbora Škrlová (33) alias Anička, her brother Jan Škrla and Jan Turek, a friend of Škrlová, Škrla and Bašová. Hana Bašová, known as Nancy, did not appear in the courtroom. She previously refused any complicity in the child abuse.

Allegedly, the purpose of their cruel behavior was to make the boys behave and eventually independent of their own family.

Public trial

The jury refused the accuser´s and the defense´s request to make the trial non-public. So around 30 journalists and a number of photographers and cameramen were present at today´s trial.

The accused sat on a bench staring at the ground, while the prosecutor Zámorovcová read the indictment which stated child abuse of various kinds.

"As a consequence the boys suffer from mood disorder, various phobias, sleep impairment, growth regression and emotional deprivation disorder, all of which will have permanent consequences upon them," stated prosecutor Zámoravcová.

While 31-old mother Klára Mauerová was testifying and weeping at the same time, her sister Kateřina was making notes of what she was saying.

"I agree largely with the indictment," said Klára Mauerová. "Yes, I know now I hurt my children. But I never intended to. Horrible things were happening then and I do not understand now how I could let it all happen," admitted Klára Mauerová.

Father Radek Coufal would like to have his sons home
Father Radek Coufal would like to have his sons home | Foto: Aktuálně.cz, Ludvík Hradílek

Shocking details

Before the court Klára Mauerová confessed she had started to use violence against her children in July 2006. She admitted she hurt them, as she wanted them to be obedient and treat Anička, a girl whom Klára Mauerová wanted to adopt, with respect.

Anička was in fact Barbora Škrlová, who disguised as a Norwegian school-girl at that time. She fooled the boys she used to be molested in a Norwegian orphanage. She is now charged with deceiving public authorities with her all of her disguises, which are countless.

At one point at a nondescript cottage Ondřej and Jakub were forced to sleep in dog cages, naked with tied hands and deprived of food and drink.

There all the accused burnt cigarette butts against the boys´ skin, submerged them into water and used sharp objects to cut their skin.

The sons were allegedly banned to call Klára Mauerová "mom". "I was told to act as a tutor, not as their mom," explains Klára Mauerová. It is all the more ironic Klára Mauerová has a university degree in pedagogy.

All the accused are believed to belong to a secretive cult called Grail Foundation. The mastermind behind this sect is supposed to be Barbora Škrlová´s father who is hiding abroad.

 

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