|Married to a monster|
“In our 30-year marriage, my husband spent more time behind bars than at home.”
So says Nadia Kruger, 47, wife of Rashaad Kruger, 50, who was sentenced to life this week for killing their youngest daughter Moneeba in their family home in Retreat in March 2008.
And instead of building a life with his child bride of 16, the convicted killer spent more time building up a criminal record and a bloody reputation.
“He just came out of jail every time to make another child before he had to go back,” she recalls of their life together.
“To be honest, the only good times were when he was behind bars because when he came out, he made my life hell.”
The couple met at an accident scene when Nadia was just 14 years old and Rashaad was 16.
“I was on my way home and had to pass a scene where a car had fallen into a sloot and that’s when he approached me and we started talking,” she recalls.
“We used to meet behind the shop until I fell pregnant and we were forced to marry.”
But because his pregnant wife was under age, Kruger was convicted of committing an indecent act with a minor in 1978.
In the same year, he was sentenced to six lashes with a cane after being convicted of escaping from custody and was also found guilty of housebreaking with the intent to rape as well as a charge of rape.
“I was very heartbroken because I didn’t expect it,” says Nadia.
After serving time for these crimes, Nadia says Kruger was only home for about three months before cops once again came knocking at her door.
Six days after their eldest son Igshaan was born, Nadia was once again left to care for her children on her own when Kruger was sent to jail.
“It was very difficult travelling to Helderstroom prison with two small children,” says Nadia.
By then, the young mother had had enough of her husband’s criminal ways and wanted to get a divorce.
But instead of helping her, social workers encouraged her to work things out with her husband and to give him another chance.
Over the years, Nadia also approached the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) for a divorce but with no results.
“Instead, the MJC helped me with food parcels and at one stage they helped me to pay my overdue rent,” she says.
She adds that Kruger seemingly didn’t care that they were struggling to survive while he was in jail and demanded toiletries, cigarettes and money.
“By then he was a different man because he had joined the 28 prison gang and was full of tattoos,” explains Nadia.
“He made my life hell but I stayed with him for the children’s sake.”
Five years later, Kruger was released from prison only to return and impregnate Nadia again - and assault her.
Things got worse when Kruger brutally raped their teenage daughter at gunpoint while strangling her so brutally that blood vessels in her eyes burst.
He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for his daughter’s rape and was also convicted of another rape charge.
Although Nadia and her kids wanted nothing to do with Kruger and she once again tried to divorce him after this evil crime, social workers again intervened and advised them to reconcile after numerous counselling sessions.
“The social workers and Rashaad assured us that he was a changed man and we decided to give him another chance,” says Nadia.
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