Courtney Pieters murder accused expected back in court as trial resumes

The trial of the man accused of the premeditated murder and rape of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters is expected to resume in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

During his plea explanation, Mortimer Saunders confessed to murder and to using his fingers to penetrate the little girl after her death.

He however denied that her murder was premeditated or that he had raped her.

READ Courtney Pieters murder: 'Further scientific developments' lead to postponement of trial

Saunders said he had given Courtney ant poison on May 4 last year to make her sick, before he choked her, beat her and used a towel to cover her mouth.

According to Saunders' plea explanation, he poisoned her because of "ill feelings" between him and Courtney's mother, Juanita.

Poisoned, dumped

He had been renting a room in the family's Elsies River home for two years.

Saunders claimed Courtney had been left in the care of her 6-year-old brother and he had been home because he was on leave.

The little girl had wanted to watch TV in his room, his plea explanation read, and he told her to leave because he wanted to sleep. She later returned.

Saunders said he mixed the poison and water together as he wanted to make her sick. She initially refused to drink the mixture but drank it after he convinced her to.

Courtney's body was found on May 13, 2017, following a lengthy search.

She had been dumped in an industrial area not far from her home.

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