2 minute read
26 Mar 2014
4:33 pm

Mare must have been murdered – State

Mpumalanga teenager Charmaine Mare must have been murdered because the explanation of an accidental fatal fall did not make sense, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Romay van Rooyen said in closing argument that 49-year-old Johannes Christiaan de Jager’s explanation of the fall in his bathroom last January was illogical.

“He said she slipped because the mat was moved. Then, in cross-examination, he said he saw her move towards the bath side. Then he says he did not see her fall.”

At the same time, De Jager said he had not seen any marks or blood on her body after the fall, she said.

The position of her body on the bathroom floor had also changed.

“In his evidence-in-chief, he said her head was towards the door and her feet towards the toilet. But he tells Lt-Col Mike Barkhuizen during the pointing-out that her head was at the door and her feet were towards the basin. That is an inconsistency.

“The only inference that can be drawn from those sets of facts is that the entire fall is a fabrication. She did not die that way.”

De Jager, 49, has pleaded not guilty to killing the 16-year-old Mpumalanga resident, and not guilty to raping and killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008.

The prosecutor said her theory about Mare’s murder was backed by a pathologist’s testimony that the teenager had no skull fractures or haemorrhaging of the head.

There was nothing remarkable about Mare’s internal organs and the only unusual feature was a muscle next to her air passage that was darker in colour, suggesting she could have been strangled.

Van Rooyen said it was hard to believe De Jager’s testimony that he had cried over Mare’s body in the bathroom.

“He stood in the witness box and explained how she died and the entire cutting up of her body without emotion.”

She also said it was impossible to believe De Jager’s claim that he had hidden Mare’s body in a drain and later cut off her limbs because he was shocked and not thinking clearly.

“He was so logical that he can feel her pulses, declare her dead, and drag her out there directly to the drain,” she said.

“He was clear. He was calculated. He really just wants to get rid of this child.”

De Jager showed little reaction to what was being said in court and looked at the floor most of the time.

His lawyer Sakkie Maartens said he would need time to process the State’s arguments before he could present his own.

A police officer had to shake De Jager to tell him to stand when acting Judge Chuma Cossie declared a postponement until Thursday.