Murder accused leaves stand after 3 weeks

2014-03-17 18:56

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Cape Town - A relieved Johannes Christiaan de Jager left the stand of the Western Cape High Court on Monday after almost three weeks of cross-examination on a 16-year-old girl's death.

He will appear in court again on Tuesday, when his lawyer will announce whether any witnesses will be called to assist their case.

De Jager's testimony ended on a dramatic note on Monday morning when prosecutor Romay van Rooyen accused him of raping Mpumalanga resident Charmaine Mare.

She put it to him that he strangled the teenager because she was going to tell everyone he had raped her.

"You raped her. That's why you burned her pelvic area," she said.

"You wanted to get rid of the evidence. That's why you got rid of the body."

De Jager, 49, denied ever raping or strangling Mare, or attempting to get rid of evidence.

He has claimed that he burned her body after she had an accidental fatal fall in the bathroom of his Cape Town home.

He initially stored Mare's body in a drain on his property but decided to remove it.

A few days later, Mare's torso was dumped and set alight on an open field in Kraaifontein.

Her lower legs and arms were found in separate locations and were in a state of decomposition but not burnt.

Van Rooyen asked if he knew where Mare's panties were.

"When I dragged her out there, she still had her blue tracksuit pants on... maybe it's a habit that she does not wear a panty," De Jager replied.

Van Rooyen wondered whether De Jager had not removed Mare's pants and then forgotten or failed to put her underwear back on when he put the pants back on. He denied her version.

She asked why the pathologist had found blood in Mare's genital swabs.

"I don't have any knowledge about that," he replied.

He was adamant that Mare's decomposing body had only secreted fluids and not blood when he moved it around.

Discarding of cellphone

Van Rooyen also put it to him that he had removed the battery from Mare's cellphone and tried to throw the phone away because he did not want people to read her messages.

She said the messages sent to Mare's friend about De Jager's advances would have incriminated him.

He denied removing the battery.

Van Rooyen again put it to him that he had murdered the teen.

"If I murdered Charmaine, then I would not have been here today. I would have made better plans," De Jager said.

Van Rooyen said he did try to make a plan by destroying her body.

"Yes, I know," he said.

When De Jager's cross-examination concluded, Judge Chuma Cossie invited Maartens to re-examine his client.

In an unusual move, he declined, stating: "No further questions, my lady."

De Jager has also pleaded not guilty to raping and killing prostitute Hiltina Alexander on Sunday, 18 May 2008.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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