Uncle pleads guilty to rape, murder of Jasmin Pretorius

The body of Jasmin Pretorius (4) was found under a bed in her father’s Brakpan flat in December 2013.

Sarel du Toit in the Pretoria High Court. Picture: Mia Lindeque.

PRETORIA - Sarel du Toit, the man accused of raping and killing his four-year-old niece Jasmin Pretorius in December 2013, has pleaded guilty in the High Court in Pretoria.

Twenty-five-year-old du Toit said he had a few drinks before the crime and that he raped his niece on purpose.

"Jasmin was asleep when I started touching her. I raped her. She woke up. I suffocated her. I didn't want her to make a noise," du Toit told the court.

He also says he confessed to a police officer that he killed her.

Du Toit joined the community in frantic search for his niece who disappeared in December 2013, but soon after her little body was found under a bed in her father's Brakpan flat and du Toit was arrested.

Jasmin and her older sister Jessica were spending the weekend with their father Morne Pretorius, when the crime took place.

However, he wasn't home that night and the two children had been left in the care of their grandmother.

The trial was postponed for almost a year so that du Toit could be sent for psychiatric observation.

Jasmin's parents appeared visibly relieved after du Toit pleaded guilty to both rape and murder charges.

Jasmin's mother Sasha Lee Bam says she has not spoken to du Toit since the day her daughter disappeared.

Pre-sentencing proceedings will now follow, but du Toit faces a life sentence.