It wasn't me - man accused of killing 6-year-old girl tells mom

2016-05-05 18:30
Children protest outside the Athlone Magistrate's Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Children protest outside the Athlone Magistrate's Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town  "Dit was nie ek nie, ma (It wasn’t me, mother)."

These were the words of one of the two men accused of killing 6-year-old Saadiqah Lippert to her distraught mother as he was led down to the holding cells of the Athlone Magistrate's Court.

Chimeiz Francis burst into tears when the two men facing murder charges stood in the dock.

The men, who appeared briefly on Thursday, stared at Saadiqah’s parents before mumbling as they left the courtroom.

The public was barred from the proceedings after a threat to the lives of the two accused.

The police's Tactical Response Unit, armed with guns, lined the courtroom and only the child's parents and the media were allowed to watch the proceedings.

Police said it was a safety precaution to protect the suspects, as threats of a revenge shooting in the court had been received.

Identified by witnesses

The accused, aged 22 and 26, were charged with the little girl's murder after witnesses identified them. They will only be named once an ID parade has taken place.

Locals and family members stood on benches to peer into the courtroom through a window, but were warned by police to retreat.

The Garlandale Primary School Grade 1 pupil was shot in the stomach when she stepped out of her grandmother's house on Monday evening.

She later died in Groote Schuur Hospital.

Outside the court, a group of children and locals chanted, "Stop the shooting! Justice for Diqah!".

"She was only 6-years-old," loved ones shouted.

'We keep our kids inside'

Francis was too distraught to speak after the proceedings. Her friend, Rashieda Klassien, said parents had resorted to desperate measures to keep their children safe from the gang shootings.

"We are like prisoners and we keep our kids inside. I am heartsore because it could have been any one of our children," she said.

Family members and neighbours were irate that they could not witness proceedings on Thursday. "Ons wil die varke sien! (We want to see the pigs!)" one bystander said.

Athlone Community Police Forum chairperson Aziza Kannemeyer said the little girl’s grandparents should also have been granted access to the courtroom.

"While the safety of the accused must be protected, the family should at least be able to see those said to have done this," she insisted.

Local residents were planning protests on Saturday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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