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Elsies River residents welcome 2 life terms handed to Mortimer Saunders

The 41-year-old was arrested shortly after Courtney Pieters's body was found in Epping Industria in May last year, nine days after she was reported missing.

Sentencing proceedings against Mortimer Saunders - the man convicted of the rape & murder of 3-year old Courtney Pieters is underway in the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Elsies River residents who took part in the search for murdered Courtney Pieters say they've received the best Christmas gift they could ask for.

The three-year-old’s killer Mortimer Saunders was slapped with two life terms for rape and premeditated murder in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old was arrested shortly after the little girl's body was found in Epping Industria in May last year, nine days after she was reported missing.

Manecia Botha is one of a group of Elsies River women who scraped money together for public transport to be present at court each time Saunders appeared in the dock.

Botha says she's happy he's received a double life sentence and that the matter has finally been concluded.

“We feel overwhelmed [with] the two life sentences he got. We are going to celebrate today.”

Judge Babalwa Mantame sentenced Saunders to life behind bars for rape and handed down a second life sentence for premeditated murder.

The sentences will run consecutively.

Mantame says Pieters's murder was an act of brutality and callousness and the nature of the killing shows the accused has no regard for other people.

WATCH: Saunders gets hefty jail term for Courtney Pieters murder

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