The man who is accused of assaulting a five-year-old boy at the Waterstone Village shopping centre in Somerset West has been charged with assault in two other cases, according to police.
The 47-year-old suspect was arrested on Monday after a security guard’s quick thinking prevented the boy from being seriously injured.
Police initially said the man walked towards the trolley, took out a knife and stabbed the boy in the chest. The mall disputed the statement to reflect the boy sustained a flesh wound in the scuffle after the guard’s intervention. The boy is in a stable condition.
The man was apprehended and charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The suspect was identified as Mark Hay, a UK citizen, Netwerk24 reported after he appeared in court on Wednesday.
Western Cape police have now said the suspect will also be charged for common assault of a 10-year-old girl, also in the same mall on Saturday.
“Initially, the family did not want to open a case against the man, but have since reported the matter after the suspect was arrested [for the other incident on Monday],” said police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana.
A third incident at a different mall has now also come to light, after it was reported to police on Tuesday.
“It is believed that the same suspect assaulted a girl in the presence of her mother, but with the help of security members at the shopping centre, the suspect was removed,” said Rwexana.
Reward for quick-thinking guard
The third assault allegedly happened at Heldervue in Somerset West on Friday.
The details around the child assaults were still under investigation.
The suspect will appear in court on Wednesday, where he will be charged for the other two cases.
Rwexana confirmed that police would be opposing bail.
In an email on Tuesday, Waterstone Village centre manager Daphne Kriel said the boy was not seriously harmed.
The centre’s security guard had anticipated the man’s intentions and the boy sustained a flesh wound.
On Wednesday, Kriel said the centre would be giving the security guard an Excellence in Service Award, while a private company will be handing over a hamper.
“We need to respect the families who are dealing with this ordeal, and rather support them in your prayers. Justice is now in the hands of the court.”