Community floods court in support of Pieters family

Mortimer Saunders, who is accused of the rape and murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters, made a brief appearance in court on Wednesday.

FILE: A resident pictured outside court to support the family of three-year-old Courtney Pieters following her murder. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN – There was community support for the family of murdered three-year-old Courtney Pieters at the Goodwood magistrates court on Wednesday when 40-year-old rape and murder accused Mortimer Saunders made a brief appearance.

He was arrested a day after the girl's body was found in Epping earlier this month.

Beryl Onkruid, who lives a few houses from the Pieters' family, says she's still struggling to sleep at night because the murder continues to haunt her.

WATCH: Case postponed to mid-August

Onkruid says she was part of the search from day one and always remained hopeful the child would be found alive.

“I still can’t sleep, I still can’t eat properly because I feel so ashamed.”

Scores of Elsies River residents chanted outside court with placards reading "Rest in Peace Courtney" and "Justice for Courtney".

The case against Saunders has been postponed to mid-August due to outstanding DNA and forensic reports as well as witness statements.