Somerset West Day Mother Guilty Of Drugging Children

Somerset West - A former day mother was found guilty on Monday of giving the children under her care a mixture of sedatives to make them sleep.

Regional magistrate Marilyn Cannon found Monica Helm, 65, guilty on eight counts of assault with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm.

Her testimony was described as a concoction of unproven allegations.

Cannon found that Helm had given the eight children in her care at the end of 2007 a mixture of prescription sleeping medication and sedatives, including opiates, to get them to sleep.

She was also found guilty of not having registered her day care centre, Kinderland, in Heldervue, Somerset West.

During the verdict which lasted almost four hours, Helm moved about in the dock in the Somerset West Regional Court, sometimes shaking her head a bit and sometimes looking down with her hand covering her mouth.

Helm’s defence was that her former domestic worker, Angeline Carolus, had plotted against her.

She alleged that if the children had been given such a mixture, it was without her knowledge and due to Carolus, who would have stolen her medication.

Cannon rejected this defence and said it was “loaded with contradictions”.

Carolus, who was initially charged with Helm, testified for the State how Helm had crushed the pills and mixed them with water, giving them to the children to help them sleep.

Cannon found that Carolus’s testimony was largely true.

Disturbed sleeping patterns
According to Cannon, the “plot” depended on coincidences and the involvement of too many people who did not have an issue with Helm.

Cannon also accepted the State’s other testimony.

“A golden threat of disrupted sleeping patterns runs through the parents’ testimony,” she found.

Cannon described Helm’s appearance as “distressing” and said she suspected she was under the influence of sedatives, as some of her answers didn’t make sense.

"She also launched a relentless, hysterical attack against Carolus,” said Cannon.

The matter was postponed to July 5 at the request of Helm's lawyer, Keith Gess, for a medical and corrective report.

Cannon also asked for a psychiatric report and extended Helm’s bail.

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