The man responsible for the brutal and inhumane murder of little Courtney Pieters was sentenced to two life sentences today. Onlookers who were present for the sentencing at the Western Cape High Court applauded when Judge Pearl Mantame handed the sentence to Mortimer Saunders.
He received two sentences for rape and murder, and these will run concurrently.
Courtney’s small body was discovered nine days after she disappeared, and Saunders partook in the community search to find her.
“If one had to consider what the deceased had gone through before her death‚ it has been a painful‚ agonising and harrowing experience. This is borne out by the injuries that she sustained. It is apparent that the deceased went through a great deal of torture before she met her death,” Mantame said during the sentencing.
Saunders was arrested in May last year, when Courtney’s body was found in Epping Industria, which is in the vicinity of her Elsies River home. He had fed the three-year-old ant poison, and although he admitted to performing necrophilia on her dead body, he had denied raping her.
He claimed to have killed the little girl because she was “disturbing” him while watching television in his bedroom. It later emerged that his motivation was fuelled by “ill feelings” he had towards Courtney’s mother – he had also never aimed to murder the toddler, but to make her ill instead.
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