He felt his blood boil with indignation when he heard the three suspects in his granddaughter’s kidnapping case plead not guilty in court, says Amy’Leigh de Jager’s grandfather.
Tharina Human (27), Laetitia Nel (40) and Pieter van Zyl (50) were back in the magistrate’s court in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, on Tuesday where they each indicated their intention of pleading not guilty to the kidnapping charges against them.
The three were in court hoping to hear if they’d been granted bail, but the bail application was moved again, to 11 October, when Magistrate Hussain Khota is expected to deliver a bail verdict.
The fourth accused, Bofokeng Molemohi (24), is only due back in court today (2 October). He has yet to lodge an official bail application.
At Tuesday’s court appearance, the legal teams on both sides were arguing over whether the three are flights risks, whether they’re a danger to society, and whether there’s enough evidence to support claims they might interfere with witnesses.
The situation is poised on a knife-edge now, says Amy’Leigh’s granddad Christo.
“I could hardly believe my ears when I heard they’re planning on entering a not-guilty plea – it was a tremendous shock,” he says.
“It doesn’t make any sense – there’d already been confessions. And in those confessions there’s already been testimony about how the kidnapping plans had been executed and who’d been involved in the planning.”
Christo says he was disgusted when the three accused’s lawyer smiled when the court heard testimony about Amy’Leigh’s wellbeing. Last week, the six-year-old’s parents, Wynand and Angeline, told YOU the little girl struggles with stomach ulcers and nightmares – and that doctors believe they’re caused by the trauma of her kidnapping.
“The lawyers are constantly trying to prove Amy’Leigh is unharmed. And today, when testimony was delivered about her health challenges, one of them grinned. It makes me furious. No, more than that – it makes my blood boil. I can’t believe they’re implying she suffered no ill effects after the whole drama,” Christo says.
He adds the family are now waiting anxiously to see what’s going to happen in court in the next few weeks. But their first priority is to protect Amy’Leigh and her brother, Jayden (5).
“Of course we want this thing to come to an end . . . For now I have no reason to be bitter about our legal system yet. These guys [police detectives] fought hard to bring Amy’Leigh back to us and they’re [state prosecutors] fighting equally hard to make the guilty parties pay for what they did. We believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen – the guilty will pay.”