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Judgment begins in case of murdered three-year-old Courtney Pieters

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Tuesday sees the start of the three-day judgment of Mortimer Saunders, accused of the rape and murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters.

The man who confessed to the murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters is set to discover his fate over the next three days at the Western Cape High Court.

The judgment was postponed last month.

Mortimer Saunders was arrested in May last year after the body of three-year-old Courtney Pieters was found in Epping Industria, nine days after she was reported missing.

He confessed to giving the child poison and assaulting her.  Saunders denied raping the girl before she died but has admitted to necrophilia.

TimesLIVE reported earlier that in his plea explanation in May he said: “I unlawfully and intentionally committed a sexual act with a corpse.”

Saunders was a tenant in her home at the time‚ and he was also friends with Courtney’s father‚ Aaron Fourie. The little girl was in the care of her six-year-old brother.

According to Saunders‚ she irritated him by waking him up because she wanted to watch television in his room.

“Irritated for having been woken a second time‚ and compounded by ill feelings between myself and her mother‚ I decided to give her ant poison‚” Saunders said.

He had bought the poison‚ which was in powder form‚ months earlier to repel ants in his room. He mixed it with water.

“Initially she did not want to drink it‚ but on telling her to do so she did‚” he said.

The state has urged the court to impose a harsh sentence and wants Saunders to be convicted of premeditated murder and rape.

The incident received wide media coverage at the time. Then-president Jacob Zuma visited the family and said he was appalled at Saunders’ act.

“That a man who stays here can rape the child‚ kill the child in the bedroom … and break every bone to make the child fit in a plastic bag … it shows something has gone wrong with society‚” said Zuma.

[Source: The Citizen/Dispatch Live]
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