Mortimer Saunders. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Convicted child rapist and murderer Mortimer Saunders intends to appeal his two consecutive life terms.

Saunders, who was found guilty of the rape and premeditated murder of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters, will exercise his leave to appeal in the Western Cape High Court on February 20.

Saunders used ant poison on the toddler, claiming that he wanted to get back at her mother, Juanita Pieters, against whom he had harboured ill feelings.

In her judgment, Judge Babalwa Mantame said the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the child’s murder was premeditated.

Before sentencing, Saunders, who had been a tenant of the family, had addressed a letter to Courtney’s family, apologising for the “heinous crime”.

Judge Mantame described Saunders’s crimes as “lewd and selfish” and the “most vicious, vile, ruthless and evil murder the court has ever seen” - and discredited the letter as an afterthought. 

Cape Times