The woman who found the body of three-year-old Courtney Pieters told the Western Cape High Court today that she was traumatised when she saw the child’s tiny legs sticking out from under tree branches on May 13 last year.
Pamela Schultz, of neighbourhood watch from Leiden in Delft, was testifying in the trial of Mortimer Saunders who is accused of raping and murdering the toddler.
Schultz broke down on the witness stand as she recalled the experience.
“I saw the child lying there by the train tracks where I searched, half-dead tree branches were on top of her upper body. I saw her bottom part to her feet and I knew it was her because the mother gave a proper description of what she had been wearing when she went missing.”
She told the court she was alone on the side of the field as the rest of the people in her group continued to search in the vicinity.
“I just went to sit down for a little while because I was very emotional. The time was exactly 1:30 pm when I found the body. I was very close to the body when I found it, I had just turned myself and there she was lying,” she said.
Courtney was last seen alive on May 4, 2017, when she was playing in front of her family home in Elsies River.
Her body was found in a shallow grave in Epping Industria on May 13 and Saunders was arrested the following day.
Saunders, who was a tenant at the family’s home, has admitted to killing the child after giving her ant poision. He has denied raping her, but said he used his fingers to penetrate her after the murder.
The case was postponed to June 6 when more witnesses, including a state pathologist, are expected to also testify.
– African News Agency (ANA)