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Trial to begin for man accused of Courtney Pieters’ rape, murder

It’s almost a year to the day since Pieters' body was found in Epping, near her family home.

FILE: Mortimer Saunders seen in the Goodwood magistrates court on Friday, 6 October 2017. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The mother of slain toddler Courtney Pieters will sit in on court proceedings on Monday when the trial of the man accused of her child’s rape and murder begins.

It’s almost a year to the day since Pieters' body was found in Epping, near her family home.

Her mother, Juanita, has told Eyewitness News that she dreads hearing the details of how her child suffered during the trial.

WATCH: Courtney Pieters: One year on

Pieters trembled as she explained how baffled the family was when Mortimer Saunders was arrested for her child’s rape and murder.

He was their lodger, the last person they would have expected to hurt little Courtney.

Now she is steeling herself to face him in court.

“I have to attend proceedings, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough. As you can see the tears started flowing just talking about it now. I told Courtney’s dad I don’t want to testify, because I know I’ll hear a lot of things that’ll just hurt me more. Just to hear what he’s done to her and how he did it… those are things that’ll hurt you.”

Saunders’ trial begins in the Western Cape High Court on Monday just over a year after the crime took place.

Pieters feels pre-trial hearings were unnecessarily drawn out and she’s hoping court proceedings are wrapped up soon, so she and her family can find some sort of closure.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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