Woman loses eye after stepdad beats her for allegedly refusing to give him money for drugs

Zoey-Lee Smith
ELDORADO PARK, South Africa  – A young woman savagely bashed with a coffee mug, allegedly by her stepfather for refusing to give him money to buy drugs, had to have her injured left eye surgically removed. 

Zoey-Lee Smith, 20, of Eldorado Park, has become one of the latest victims of gender-based violence, following a violent incident on Thursday in which her mother’s husband, Earl Spencer, allegedly repeatedly hit her with a coffee cup until it broke, severely damaging her eye.

The young woman had to undergo an operation to remove her left eye the same day.

Gauteng provincial police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed the violent assault, and said that the stepfather appeared briefly in the Kliptown Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning on charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).

                                         Zoey-Lee Smith before she lost her eye due to a beating.

“He was charged with assault GBH for now, because we haven’t received the full details of the abuse, because the victim is still in hospital. Once we get her statement on what happened, and how it happened, the charge could be changed or added on top of what we have charged (him) with now,” he said.

The victim’s mother, Samantha Smith, told The Star that on the morning of the incident, she went to the shop and returned to find her daughter and her husband fighting.

“My husband took a cup and hit my daughter three times on the head. The first time was behind the ear, the second time was on her head and the third time in the face, and then the cup broke in her face by her eye,” she said.

Samantha said her husband was beating her daughter because he allegedly demanded money from her in order to buy drugs.

“I’m very upset and I want justice, even though it will not restore my daughter’s eye. I didn’t bring a child into this world with one eye, and now her future is jeopardised and I feel hatred for this man,” she said.

Speaking to The Star after she was discharged from hospital on Monday, Zoey-Lee said: “I’m not okay; it’s jarring waking up from an operation without an eye.

         Earl Spencer, the stepfather who allegedly beat his stepdaughter with a coffee mug.

“I want justice and I want him to suffer,” she said, adding her stepfather had a history of violence and abuse towards her and her mother.

“He abuses my mother and as her eldest daughter, I’m going to take action, because she’s my mother and I can’t just leave things and let him beat her up,” she said.

Zoey-Lee said she has a younger brother, 9, whom she tried to shield when her stepfather became abusive because she did not want him to believe that women abuse was right.

The family’s neighbour, Halima Kaldine, said on the day of the incident, she heard screams coming from her neighbour’s house.

“When I went outside, she (Joey-Lee) was lying on the ground and because he hit her with a mug, she had an open wound. He was swearing and using so much vulgar language in front of the children,” she said.

Another neighbour who lives two houses away, Eleanor Baughan, said she went outside and saw people running towards Zoey-Lee’s house.

“I saw Zoey full of blood and a woman stopped her car, so I took Zoey and put a cloth against her head before we went in the car to get help,” she said.


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