#CourtneyPieters: DNA expert to testify in case against Mortimer Saunders

The court has heard testimony from forensic toxicologist Jacobus Van Zyl who explained how he found a pesticide called carbaryl in samples from Courtney Pieters' stomach, blood and bile.

Alleged child killer Mortimer Saunders in the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A DNA expert is expected to testify in the trial of a man who's admitted to killing three-year-old Courtney Pieters.

Mortimer Saunders was arrested shortly after the child's body was found in Epping Industria last year.

In a plea explanation, Saunders has admitted to feeding the child ant poison before assaulting her.

The court has heard testimony from forensic toxicologist Jacobus Van Zyl who explained how he found carbaryl in samples from Courtney Pieters' stomach, blood and bile.

Carbaryl is a pesticide commonly used to kill insects like ants, ticks and spiders.

Van Zyl says he found point 8 milligrams per litre of poison in the child's blood, which is more than a lethal dose for an adult.

He adds he was surprised to find carbaryl in Pieters’ blood because most pesticides usually metabolise very quickly and move into the urine.

Van Zyl says this finding tells him the deceased was exposed to a high dose of poison and death occurred quickly, in which case metabolism stops.

Because the three-year-old's body was only found nine days after her death, Van Zyl says there's no telling how much poison she was given.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)