21 August 2018

South Africa: Man Expected Back in Court for Allegedly Raping, Killing Little Courtney Pieters

The trial of the man accused of the premeditated murder and the rape of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters will continue in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

It was postponed on Monday because the prosecutor was sick.

The case was previously postponed for consultations related to further forensic tests the State had conducted on tissue samples taken from Courtney's body.

She was last seen on May 4.

Mortimer Saunders was charged with premeditated murder and rape after the toddler's body was found in a shallow grave in Epping, an industrial area of Cape Town, several days after she went missing.

If he is found guilty of premeditated murder, he could be sentenced to life in jail.

However, he has only pleaded guilty to murder, which carries a lesser sentence of 15 years.

He has also denied the charge of rape and pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a corpse instead, which carries no minimum sentence. A guilty verdict of rape of a minor could result in a 15-year sentence.

He was a tenant in the house where Courtney's mother, Juanita, lived.

The court previously heard that he had been irritated at the time of her death because of "ill feelings" toward her mother and because the child wanted to watch television in his room.

Source: News24

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