De Jager claims memory is fuzzy

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Independent Newspapers

Johannes de Jager was convicted of killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008 and 16-year-old Charmaine Mare last year. File picture: Bheki Radebe

Cape Town - Murder-accused Johannes Christiaan de Jager cannot recall all conversations he had with his alleged victim, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

“Half of these conversations I can't even remember,” he testified at one point, in Afrikaans.

Prosecutor Romay van Rooyen had been cross-examining de Jager, 49, on the conversations that 16-year-old Charmaine Mare recorded on her cellphone in January last year.

De Jager has pleaded not guilty to killing her on January 11.

The conversations apparently took place in Mare's bedroom. De Jager said she had been lying on the bed with her back against the wall and he had been sitting near her.

The recordings were transcribed and placed in front of De Jager on the stand, who confirmed they took place a few days before her death.

He avoided directly answering some of Van Rooyen's questions and seemed to have a poor memory, which he attributed to drinking heavily at the time.

In one recording, De Jager is heard telling Mare that seeing as though she lay in bed so often, he was going to go lie down next to her.

Mare is heard protesting.

“Why did you say that to her? Why did you suggest that?” asked Van Rooyen.

“I don't know. Honestly,” De Jager replied.

In another recording, Mare is heard telling him that his hands are cold and he must take them off her.

De Jager told the court he only stroked Mare for about two seconds on her arm.

“Why did you do that? What was your reason for doing it?” Van Rooyen asked.

“I can no longer remember,” he replied.

De Jager said the recording was taken two days before Mare died, at around 8pm.

Van Rooyen said it was strange that he would tell Mare to get up, and that she would agree, when it was evening.

“Sir, why did you want her to get up at the time she went to the room to sleep?” she asked.

He replied that one could not sleep the whole day.

She remained adamant that it did not make sense.

“In fact, this whole transcription does not make sense. It's a whole mixed-up story,” De Jager replied.

Sapa


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