Killer rapist pens let­ter to vic­tim

Mor­timer Saun­ders writes about pain and re­gret for his ac­tions on the day Court­ney, 3, died

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - METRO - NOR­MAN CLOETE

CON­VICTED mur­derer and child rapist Mor­timer Saun­ders has writ­ten a let­ter of apol­ogy to Court­ney Pi­eters and “ev­ery­body”.

Week­end Argus is in pos­ses­sion of the neatly writ­ten one-page let­ter, en­ti­tled “Apol­ogy to fam­ily” wherein Saun­ders speaks about the pain he caused the Pi­eters fam­ily and his own.

“I deeply re­gret what I’ve done and I’m truly ashamed for my ac­tions on that day. I will have to live with the fact that I’m re­spon­si­ble for a child’s death,” said the let­ter writ­ten in cap­i­tal let­ters.

Saun­ders, who was found guilty of the rape and pre­med­i­tated mur­der of 3-year-old Court­ney Pi­eters, was in the dock this week in the Western Cape High Court as sen­tenc­ing pro­ce­dures con­tin­ued.

The lit­tle girl’s body was found on May 13, 2017, near a dump­ing site in Ep­ping and was pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied by her par­ents the next day.

Her body was dis­cov­ered nine days after she dis­ap­peared from her home.

In the let­ter, Saun­ders apol­o­gises to Court­ney, her fam­ily, and to the com­mu­nity of Al­berau, near Elsies River, for what he did.

“And if they can find it in their hearts to for­give me some day,” said the let­ter.

The court found that Saun­ders used ant poi­son on the tod­dler, in re­tal­i­a­tion over a dis­pute he al­legedly had with her mother, Juanita Pi­eters.

It emerged in court while the State and de­fence pre­sented their mit­i­ga­tion and ag­gra­va­tion ar­gu­ments, that Saun­ders, him­self a fa­ther of three, was para­noid that he would be poi­soned by his own mother, aunt and a for­mer girl­friend.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer, Jeremy Kessie, Saun­ders was also para­noid that Juanita would poi­son his room.

In a rare move, Court­ney’s fa­ther, Aaron Fourie, told re­porters out­side the court that they want Saun­ders to serve two life sen­tences.

“We are still very hurt by the trauma caused. It hurts even more be­cause he was a child­hood friend of mine. It hurts the most at night when we go to bed and you think about her not be­ing there any­more,” said Fourie.

So­cial worker Eve­lyn Torode, told the court, that Court­ney’s older teenage sis­ter, blames her­self for what hap­pened.

Torode’s re­port also con­tained a doc­u­ment where Juanita wrote about how she felt fol­low­ing the death of her daugh­ter.

“Juanita is strug­gling to come to terms with (the death of Court­ney). She said she wanted the court to de­cide (the ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence) but her last words to me was ‘God does not rest’,” Torode said.

Out­side court, Juanita said: “It’s not nice hav­ing to come back to court every time to sit and hear the things my baby had to go through. It hurts. We want this to be over,” she said.

In the let­ter, Saun­ders also thanks his fam­ily for their con­tin­ued sup­port. His fam­ily does not at­tend court reg­u­larly.

The case will con­tinue on De­cem­ber 11.

African News Agency (ANA)

CON­VICTED mur­derer and child rapist Mor­timer Saun­ders has writ­ten an apol­ogy to his vic­tim’s fam­ily, his fam­ily, and the com­mu­nity. | NOOR SLAMDIEN

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