Murdered Courtney's last request to mom: A packet of treats (Warning: Sensitive details)

2018-05-28 15:55
Mortimer Saunders. (Tammy Petersen)

Mortimer Saunders. (Tammy Petersen)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The last time Courtney Pieters' mother saw her daughter, the little girl had asked for a packet of treats, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

She never got it, as the three-year-old is believed to have been murdered that same day.

Juanita Pieters testified that, when her son told her that his baby sister was missing when she returned from work on May 4, 2017, she had not believed it, telling him not to talk "nonsense".

Courtney's body was found more than a week after she was reported missing.

Saunders pleads guilty

Mortimer Saunders, who rented a room in the same house where Courtney lived, on Monday pleaded guilty to killing her and performing a sexual act on the corpse. His plea was rejected by the State, which wanted him tried for rape and murder.

In his plea explanation, Saunders claimed he had used ant poison too poison the child because of "ill feelings" between him and Juanita. He had also ostensibly been irritated because Courtney had wanted to watch TV in his room and he had wanted to sleep.

Saunders claimed he had wanted to make her sick, but Courtney had initially not wanted to drink the mixture. She did when he told her to and she coughed, resulting in the poisoned water getting onto her face, hair and clothing.

READ: Mortimer Saunders pleads guilty to murdering Courtney Pieters, 3, performing sexual act with her corpse

He said he had hit her on the forehead, choked her and closed her mouth with a towel after people on the property started to look for her.

Saunders claimed he had realised Courtney was dead when her lips were blue and her body lifeless.

He admitted to pulling down her denim shorts and underwear and penetrating her with three fingers, and saw there "was no reaction of pain by her and no active bleeding as my fingers penetrated her".

Saunders said he became aroused and that he had put his penis around her vagina and on her body, but denied raping her.

He put her body in a duvet and dumped her in bushes close to the factories in Epping, he said in his statement, read in court by his advocate Mornay Calitz.

Her body was found nine days later.

Courtney's mother testifies

Juanita, the State's first witness, was warned of her rights in terms of incriminating herself, relating to an offence of abuse and the deliberate neglect of a child.

She confirmed that she lived with her boyfriend, Aaron Fourie, and three of her four children, as well as Fourie's sister and her son in Pluto Street, Salberau in Elsies River, at the time of her daughter's murder.

She met Saunders about three years ago when he moved into the house, Juanita testified.

"We didn't like each other," she said, explaining that Saunders constantly made trouble between her and her boyfriend.

When Fourie was under the influence, he sometimes became rude, Juanita said. Saunders knew that, and would tell him things she had said and done, resulting in arguments and fights between the two.

Saunders and Fourie had grown up together and were close, she explained.

On the day of Courtney's murder, Juanita said she had breastfed her baby girl and had given her porridge, before putting her back in bed with her brother, who had been ill.

ALSO READ: Courtney Pieters rape, murder accused wants private pathologist

She admitted that she had not asked anyone to look after Courtney that day.

The week before, a relative who lived in the backyard, had taken care of her, but the week of Courtney's murder, Juanita said she did not have money to pay for a child minder.

After kissing the two little ones goodbye as she left for the Hungry Lion in Parow, where she worked as a cleaner, Juanita said Courtney called out to her. She said she asked her mother to bring them party packets when she returned. Juanita had replied that she would.

She bolted the back door and left through the front, closing it behind her.

Saunders, who was on leave, and her boyfriend's nephew were also home at the time.

Courtney missing

Juanita testified that, on her way home from work that evening, her son and another child had run to her, saying Courtney was missing. She said she had told him not to talk nonsense.

When she got home, the relative who had previously looked after Courtney said she had thought Juanita had taken the child to work with her.

Juanita told Judge Pearl Mantame she had gone to all her daughter's friends' homes, but hadn't been able find her.

She said she went to the police station to ask if anyone had brought her little girl to the station. No one had.

After telling the court that one woman had told her to go and check again, and to report Courtney missing if she didn't find her, Juanita started to cry.

The case was adjourned to Tuesday as a bereft and vomiting Juanita was unable to continue her testimony.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    mortimer saunders  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.