Eyewitness tells court about the day 4-year-old was murdered and raped

2018-11-14 18:25
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images

PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images

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The Protea Regional Court has heard the testimony of a man who gave evidence about the about the night the body of his cousin's four-year-old daughter was discovered in an open drain.

"On that day, I went to church around 18:00. I returned around 20:00 and received news that my cousin's daughter Shaynice is missing. I then went to assist those who were searching for her in the area," Adriaan Swarts told the court on Wednesday.

The witness said he and four other residents from Eldorado Park went into the open veld on September 27 to search for the little girl.

He said other people were also in the veld searching for her.

Pink shoes

"It was dark and [we] could not wait for the police to first open a case. We were angry as time was [running out]. We used our cellphone torches to ensure we could see where we were searching. 

"We then went to a koppie nearby and I found Shaynice's body in an open drain...on a footpath. Inside the drain there were pipes and carpets. There were rocks on top of the carpet which covered her body from her head to her knees. 

"I saw her pink shoes. I went back to tell my family that I found her. Police and members of the Community Patrolling  Forum (CPF) arrived and warned us not to touch the body and wait for relevant authorities."

Adriaan Swarts said he knew the accused, Cheslyn Swarts, well because they were related.

"I have known him for all my life. I've never had problems with him. Shaynice is my relative's daughter as well."

He added that he saw the accused after the gruesome discovery and didn't confront him. 

"I last saw Shaynice with my uncle when I went to buy bread in the morning. She was with my uncle who was installing paving in the yard," he said.

Case postponed

The witness, clad in a blue stripped T-shirt and black jeans, told the court on Wednesday that he understood the charges he faced and pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder. 

Before he could plead, Magistrate P Naidoo warned him that he faced a lengthy jail term if he was convicted of the crimes. 

"The accused is warned that should you be convicted on a charge of murder, you could be sentenced to 15 years if you are a first offender, 20 years if you are a second offender and 25 years if you are a third offender."

Regarding the charge of rape, the accused was warned that he faced a life term in jail if he was convicted.

"If found guilty on a charge of kidnapping you could face five years as a first offender, seven years [as] a second offender and 15 years [as] a third offender," Naidoo said.

The case has been postponed to November 21.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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