Murder accused claims memory fuzzy

2014-03-11 22:27

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Cape Town – Murder accused Johannes Christiaan de Jager cannot recall all conversations he had with his alleged victim, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

"Half of these conversations I can't even remember," he testified at one point, in Afrikaans.

Prosecutor Romay van Rooyen had been cross-examining de Jager, 49, on the conversations that 16-year-old Charmaine Mare recorded on her cellphone in January last year.

De Jager has pleaded not guilty to killing her on 11 January.

The conversations apparently took place in Mare's bedroom. De Jager said she had been lying on the bed with her back against the wall and he had been sitting near her.

The recordings were transcribed and placed in front of De Jager on the stand, who confirmed they took place a few days before her death.

He avoided directly answering some of Van Rooyen's questions and seemed to have a poor memory, which he attributed to drinking heavily at the time.

In one recording, De Jager is heard telling Mare that seeing as though she lay in bed so often, he was going to go lie down next to her.

Mare is heard protesting.

"Why did you say that to her? Why did you suggest that?" asked Van Rooyen.

"I don't know. Honestly," De Jager replied.

In another recording, Mare is heard telling him that his hands are cold and he must take them off her.

De Jager told the court he only stroked Mare for about two seconds on her arm.

"Why did you do that? What was your reason for doing it?" Van Rooyen asked.

"I can no longer remember," he replied.

De Jager said the recording was taken two days before Mare died, at around 20:00.

Van Rooyen said it was strange that he would tell Mare to get up, and that she would agree, when it was evening.

"Sir, why did you want her to get up at the time she went to the room to sleep?" she asked.

He replied that one could not sleep the whole day.

She remained adamant that it did not make sense.

"In fact, this whole transcription does not make sense. It's a whole mixed-up story," De Jager replied.

Denies being sexual

Later, De Jager said sleeping with someone means lying next to them.

In one recording, Mare is heard saying: "I told uncle, 'I am underage uncle. Uncle knows that'."

Van Rooyen quizzed De Jager on his intentions with Mare.

"Let me ask you this question, did you ask Charmaine to have sex with you?" she asked.

He replied: "I didn't use once those words. That I wanted to sleep with her and lie with her - those are the words."

He said it was not asked in a sexual manner.

Van Rooyen repeatedly asked why Mare would refer to being underage if the question was not sexual.

She seemed exasperated at De Jager's answers and eventually asked what it meant "to sleep together".

"To sleep," De Jager replied.

His response seemed to contradict his previous testimony that he had made sexual advances but they had been rejected.

Cross-examination will continue on Wednesday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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