CONFESS: Mortimer Saunders was grabbed by the policeman
Nine days after three-year-old Courtney Pieters went missing from her Elsies River home, her alleged killer Mortimer Saunders was arrested in the same clothing he wore on the day he dumped her body on a veldjie.

The arresting officer, Constable Bradley Spogter of the Elsies River Police Station, on Tuesday testified in the Western Cape High Court that he got a tip-off on Saunders’ whereabouts while on patrol on 14 May.

Spogter said the call came from a private number and a woman gave him directions to a house in Jonah Street.

He went to the separate entrance and spotted Saunders sitting on a chair, watching TV.

Saunders was wearing a red golf shirt, jeans and Caterpillar boots - the same clothes he had worn in the CCTV footage which shows him dumping Courtney’s tiny body in Bofors Circle, Epping Industria.

Spogter said when he entered the house, Saunders got up and turned to walk away from him.

“To me, it was an indication he wanted to get away from me. I grabbed him from behind by the backside of his jeans,” the constable testified.

He arrested Saunders and took him to the holding cells of the Elsies River Police Station, where the accused gave his “full cooperation”.

Saunders faces charges of premeditated murder and rape.

KILLED: Courtney Pieters, 3

Although he has confessed to poisoning Courtney, he denies the toddler’s death was planned.

He also denies raping her, claiming he had inserted his finger into her private parts after she had died.

He admitted he placed his erect penis on her body, but did not penetrate her.

Saunders said he had given Courtney ant poison to drink to make her sick. He then hit her on the forehead, choked her and covered her mouth with a towel to keep her quiet.

He claimed he had done this because of “ill feelings” between him and the tot’s mother, Juanita.

Forensic analyst Luthando Tiya also testified on Tuesday, saying physical evidence was collected from both Courtney and Saunders.

Saunders’ semen was found on Courtney.

Blood was also found on the child’s denim shorts but not enough DNA was found for a positive profile.

Saunders was a childhood friend of Courtney’s father, Aaron Fourie, and had boarded with the family for two years when Courtney went missing on 4 May 2017. 

The trial continues.

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