Cape Town – As a man accused of murdering three-year-old Courtney Pieters, waiting for his fate in the High Court of the Western Cape, we are considering the date of her disappearance and murder and events leading to the trial of Mortimer Saunders.
May 4, 2017
Courtney Pieters was missing from her family home in Salberau, the Elsies River.
Her disappearance causes a huge search for volunteers from other Cape Flats communities who join the police to help find a little girl.
In nine days, when Courtney is missing, there are numerous vigils to pray for her safe return.
Her body was found in Epping Industria.
The footage from the CCTV cameras in the area shows a man whom the police have identified as a close friend of the child's family, throwing her body into the trash.
Mortimer Saunders, the man who rented a room in his family's home, is arrested for her murder after the police receive an anonymous hint. He is wearing the same clothes as the suspect, abandoning the body on the CCTV material.
Courtney Pieters is buried. Hundreds of people from all over Cape Town go out to help the family and do the last favor to this little girl.
Saunders appears for the first time at the Goodwood Magic Court
he had a few bruises on his face and what looked like a bite mark in his neck. His case is postponed to the High Court.
May 14, 2018
Saunders is tried for rape and murder just a year after his arrest. Courtney's tombstone is unveiled on the same day.
Mortimer Saunders admits to murdering Courtney Pieters. He says he fed her ant poison to make her sick and suffocate when she made a noise.
Forensic analyst Luthando Tiya testifies that he has matched sperm from Saunders to samples taken from Courtney's body.
The official cause of Courtney's death was revealed in court as suffocation by asphyxiation or suffocation, "and / or" poisoning.
According to the pathologist professor Johan Dempers
the child suffered from external trauma of dull faces, torso and limbs, and signs of oppression and genital injuries appeared on her neck.
30th of August
Saunders' lawyer shocks the court, denying that his client confessed to the murder of a three-year-old.
Judge Pearl Mantame closes the case after defender Mornay Calitz refused to testify his client.
During the trial, Saunders admitted that he poisoned the child because he had "bad feelings" towards his mother, Juanita Pieters. According to him, he never intended to kill Courtney. He denies raping a girl.