Courtney Pieters's rape, murder suspect appears in court

Mortimer Saunders was arrested shortly after the girl's body was found in a shallow grave in Epping in May, days after she was reported missing.

Three-year-old Courtney Pieters went missing on 4 May 2017. Her body was found about a kilometre away from her Elsies River home Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - The man accused of the rape and murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters in Elsies River has made a brief appearance in the Western Cape High Court.

Mortimer Saunders was arrested shortly after the girl's body was found in a shallow grave in Epping in May, days after she was reported missing.

His case was transferred from the Goodwood Magistrates Court about two months ago.

The case has been postponed to early next month for a pre-trial hearing.

A trial date has been set for between 5 February and 1 March 2018.

The 40-year-old accused is awaiting trial at Pollsmoor Prison.

Police say they have completed their investigation.

Saunders was renting a room in the deceased's family home in Elsies River.