Teen must have been murdered - State

2014-03-26 20:49
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Cape Town - Mpumalanga teenager Charmaine Mare must have been murdered because the explanation of an accidental fatal fall did not make sense, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Romay van Rooyen said in closing argument that 49-year-old Johannes Christiaan de Jager's explanation of the fall in his bathroom last January was illogical.

"He said she slipped because the mat was moved. Then, in cross-examination, he said he saw her move towards the bath side. Then he says he did not see her fall."

At the same time, De Jager said he had not seen any marks or blood on her body after the fall, she said.

The position of her body on the bathroom floor had also changed.

"In his evidence-in-chief, he said her head was towards the door and her feet towards the toilet. But he tells Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barkhuizen during the pointing-out that her head was at the door and her feet were towards the basin. That is an inconsistency.

"The only inference that can be drawn from those sets of facts is that the entire fall is a fabrication. She did not die that way."

De Jager, 49, has pleaded not guilty to killing the 16-year-old Mpumalanga resident, and not guilty to raping and killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008.

The prosecutor said her theory about Mare's murder was backed by a pathologist's testimony that the teenager had no skull fractures or haemorrhaging of the head.

Injuries

There was nothing remarkable about Mare's internal organs and the only unusual feature was a muscle next to her air passage that was darker in colour, suggesting she could have been strangled.

Van Rooyen said it was hard to believe De Jager's testimony that he had cried over Mare's body in the bathroom.

"He stood in the witness box and explained how she died and the entire cutting up of her body without emotion."

She also said it was impossible to believe De Jager's claim that he had hidden Mare's body in a drain and later cut off her limbs because he was shocked and not thinking clearly.

"He was so logical that he can feel her pulses, declare her dead, and drag her out there directly to the drain," she said.

"He was clear. He was calculated. He really just wants to get rid of this child."

De Jager showed little reaction to what was being said in court and looked at the floor most of the time.

Teen was scared

Earlier Van Rooyen said messages sent from the 16-year-old's phone to friends in January last year indicated De Jager had not acted as a custodian should have.

"It paints a picture of someone who is really scared of the sexual advances of the accused," she said.

"These messages all convey the deceased was being pestered to have sexual intercourse with the accused. That seems to be the golden thread that runs through all the witnesses' testimonies."

De Jager, 49, has pleaded not guilty to killing the 16-year-old Mpumalanga resident, and not guilty to raping and killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008.

He and Mare were left alone at his Kraaifontein home last year after his girlfriend, son, and step-daughter went away on a four-day cruise.

Van Rooyen said the testimonies of various State witnesses corroborated the theory that Mare had not wanted to have sex with De Jager.

"The mere fact she was recording him [on her cellphone] meant she wanted evidence of it happening and that she wanted to convey to people that she was frightened of the accused."

Van Rooyen said Mare had also been desperate to get away from De Jager.

She argued that when De Jager took to the stand, he tried to distance himself by claiming he wanted to sleep next to Mare, not with her.

Sexual advances

However, he admitted in his warning statement to making sexual advances.

She said inconsistencies in his evidence-in-chief and cross-examination also added strength to the theory that he had not made an advance one evening but the whole time he was alone with Mare.

She said Nikita Small had testified that her friend Mare had contacted her and complained that De Jager was "vatterig en doen snaakse dinge" [touchy-feely and doing funny things].

He had been inconsistent when stating in his evidence-in-chief that nothing untoward happened on 7 January but then accusing Mare of enticing him that same day, during cross-examination.

"The accused is trying to sully the deceased by saying he is the victim, not the deceased," Van Rooyen said.

His lawyer Sakkie Maartens said he would need time to process the State's arguments before he could present his own.

A police officer had to shake De Jager to tell him to stand when acting Judge Chuma Cossie declared a postponement until Thursday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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