Courtney Pieters murder accused to to be tried a year after her body was found

Mortimer Saunders, 40, appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate's court on Tuesday for the murder and rape of three-year-old Courtney Pieters. (James de Villiers, News24, file)
Mortimer Saunders, 40, appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate's court on Tuesday for the murder and rape of three-year-old Courtney Pieters. (James de Villiers, News24, file)

Cape Town - The man accused of killing 3-year-old Courtney Pieters is to finally go on trial, almost a year after her little body was found in a shallow grave.

Both the State and the defence confirmed in the Western Cape High Court on Friday that they were ready to proceed with the rape and murder trial of the accused, Mortimer Saunders.

A trial date has been set for May 14, 2018.

READ: Courtney Pieters was raped twice before being murdered, court hears

Pieters was last seen alive on May 4, 2017 when she was playing in front of her family home in Elsies River.

She was found dead in a shallow grave in Epping Industria on May 13 and Saunders was arrested the following day.

Supporters of the family crammed into the seats of the court's public gallery on Friday to watch the proceedings.

Outside of the building, they gathered together on the court's steps and said they were satisfied that a date had finally been set for the trial.

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