CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — The South African man who confessed that he murdered a three-year-old girl stated in court that he killed the child with ant poison and had sex with her corpse.
Mortimer Saunders (above) stated in court on Monday that he committed necrophilia on his victim’s body — but did not rape his victim, Courtney Pieters, before she died.
He has also insisted that the murder was not premeditated.
“I unlawfully and intentionally committed a sexual act with a corpse‚” Saunders said in his plea explanation.
Courtney was murdered in Elsiesrivier on May 4, 2017. Saunders and Courtney’s father, Aaron Fourie‚ were friends at the time of her murder, and Saunders was a tenant in the family’s home.
The rape and murder took place on a night when Courtney’s parents left the little girl in the care of her six-year-old brother, while Saunders was also at home, sleeping.
Saunders said that he woke up and left his room to use the restroom, and that Courtney entered his room a few minutes later to watch television. He explained that he asked the little girl to leave, because he wanted to go to sleep — but said that she returned 30 minutes later.
“Irritated for having been woken a second time‚ and compounded by ill feelings between myself and her mother‚ I decided to give her ant poison‚” Saunders said. “My intention was to make her sick, and in doing so to get back at her mother.”
Saunders mixed the poison with water and forced Courtney to drink it.
After she’d died, he reportedly snapped every bone in Courtney’s body in order to fit her corpse into a plastic bag so that he could dispose of it. Her broken body was found several days later near her home.
Saunders has also confessed that when Courtney was initially missed, he helped join in the search for the little girl.
Judge Pearl Mantame is hearing the matter in the Western Cape High Court.
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Main photo: Mortimer Saunders [Eyewitness News/screenshot]