Slain teen feared for her safety

2013-11-26 22:38
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Cape Town - Sixteen-year-old Charmaine Mare was too scared to sleep while alone in a house with murder-accused Johannes Christiaan de Jager, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

In BlackBerry messages to a family friend called Mrs Venter, Mare confided that she desperately wanted to leave Cape Town and go home to Kriel, in Mpumalanga, because De Jager was making repeated sexual advances.

This was according to the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Barkhuizen, a Hawks detective who helped with the investigation of Mare's death on 11 January this year.

De Jager has pleaded not guilty to Mare's murder, and to the rape and murder of prostitute Hiltina Alexander in May 2008.

He was living with his girlfriend, her daughter, and his son in a house in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, at the time of Mare's death. Mare had been staying at the house during a holiday and visit to the daughter.

However, she was alone with De Jager from 7 January to 11 January because the rest of the family was on a boat cruise.

Mare and Venter exchanged a flurry of messages on 9 January, in which she said she was scared about that evening.

She did not have airtime and could not phone anyone for help.

She had asked her family to buy her a bus ticket back to her hometown, but they were struggling to collect the money.

Venter replied that she would have bought a bus ticket, but also had no money.

She advised Mare to lock her bedroom door and to warn De Jager that she would report him to police should anything happen.

Mare replied that the door did not have a lock, so Venter advised her to push something against it, so she would be warned if someone entered.

She said she had not eaten anything, because she was too scared to take anything from De Jager.

"Ekt hm record tannie ek gn vi sy vrou speel [I recorded him aunty. I'm going to play this to his wife]," read one of her messages.

Recordings

Another message read that her cellphone speaker was broken.

The next day, Venter checked that Mare was all right and advised her to eat something because, if she was weak, De Jager would be able to take advantage of her. Mare sent her a drawing of a crying face.

Venter replied that Mare was talented and that when she was back home, she would try to enrol her in an art class if she promised not to take drugs or smoke dagga again.

Mare responded: "Rerig tannie??? Ek belowe tannie ek sal eks 2 weke skoon!!!... ek wil iets van my lewe maak [Really aunty? I promise aunty I will. I am two weeks clean... I want to make something of my life]."

The last recorded activity on Mare's phone was at 04:49 on 11 January. Subsequent messages and phone calls went unanswered.

Barkhuizen also played 13 recordings which Mare apparently made and sent to a friend. In these recordings, a voice confirmed as Mare's could be heard repeatedly turning down sexual advances from De Jager.

Sakkie Maartens, for De Jager, said the recordings were strange because Mare had admitted her speaker was broken.

"The accused will say the deceased had problems with her BlackBerry and the deceased used his phone to contact her family," Maartens said.

The trial was postponed until Thursday for the pathologist's testimony.

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