‘Vi­cious, bru­tal, evil’

Mor­timer Saun­ders guilty of pre­med­i­tated mur­der and rape of 3-year-old

Cape Argus - - METRO - ZODIDI DANO zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

THREE-YEAR-OLD Court­ney Pi­eterse’s rape and mur­der was the most vi­cious, evil, ruth­less and bru­tal case West­ern Cape High Court Judge Ba­balwa Man­tame had come across, she said.

Yes­ter­day, Man­tame high­lighted de­tails in the State’s case against self-con­fessed killer Mor­timer Saun­ders that led to her con­vict­ing him of pre­med­i­tated mur­der and rape.

Court­ney’s body was found nine days af­ter she had gone miss­ing, on May4 last year, dumped in a plas­tic bag in Ep­ping In­dus­tria.

An au­topsy ex­am­i­na­tion found that she had sus­tained tears and lac­er­a­tions to her vag­ina, and the open­ing had stretched sig­nif­i­cantly. Se­men was found in her un­der­wear and jeans.

There were three pos­si­ble causes of death – smoth­er­ing, poi­son­ing, or man­ual stran­gu­la­tion.

Saun­ders ad­mit­ted to giv­ing the child poi­son and stran­gling her, but de­nied rap­ing her. He said he in­serted three fin­gers in her vag­ina.

Judge Man­tame said Saun­ders abused the trust Court­ney and her fam­ily had placed in him.

“In most in­stances, these abom­inable crimes are com­mit­ted by peo­ple against the child they are sup­posed to pro­tect. The ac­cused was in a po­si­tion of trust. She was a de­fence­less child. The de­ceased died a slow, painful death,” said Judge Man­tame.

She made ref­er­ence to the “rocky” re­la­tion­ship be­tween Saun­ders and Court­ney’s mother Juanita Pi­eters.

Ac­cord­ing to Saun­ders’s plea, con­fes­sion state­ment and ad­mis­sions, he said he wanted to spite Juanita by giv­ing Court­ney poi­son that would make her sick.

Saun­ders and Court­ney’s fa­ther Aaron Fourie grew up to­gether and were best friends.

“The court re­jects the ver­sion of the ac­cused that he poi­soned the de­ceased to get at Peters. The ac­cused planned to rape the de­ceased; some­how things didn’t go as planned and he pan­icked and killed her,” Judge Man­tame said.

Court­ney’s mother stormed out of the court af­ter sen­tenc­ing and re­fused to speak to the me­dia.

The case was post­poned to De­cem­ber4 for sen­tenc­ing.

NOOR SLAMDIEN African News Agency (ANA)

MOR­TIMER Saun­ders was found guilty of the rape and pre­med­i­tated mur­der of three-year-old Court­ney Pi­eters. Sen­tenc­ing will be handed down on De­cem­ber 4. |

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.