‘I cut off her limbs with a tree cutter’Comment on this story
Cape Town - Johannes de Jager has testified in the Western Cape High Court that, while his son played TV games in their Kraaifontein home, he was dismembering the body of 16-year-old Charmaine Mare.
De Jager said he struggled to remove her body from the drain he had dumped it in in his front yard on January 11 last year.
De Jager has admitted that he used a tree cutter to slice off Charmaine’s limbs, and that he disposed of her body, but has denied killing her. He said he assumed she was dead when she hit her head on the edge of the bath.
At the time, Charmaine, from Mpumalanga, was in Cape Town staying with her friend, Kristen White, at Kristen’s home in Windsor Park, Kraaifontein.
Kristen, her mother, Carol White, and De Jager’s son, Nic, went on a boat trip that week, leaving Charmaine and De Jager alone at the house.
De Jager earlier told the court he had pulled Charmaine by the arm because she was taking too long to get ready, and they were due to go to the harbour to meet the family. She fell, banged her head and appeared to be dead. He hid her body in the drain and drove to the harbour.
When the family came home, they asked De Jager where Charmaine was. He told them she had gone to the shop and had not returned.
The family searched for her and De Jager signed a missing person report at Kraaifontein police station. Each time they left the house, De Jager drove over the drain in which he had hidden her body.
Two days later, the drain began to smell, and De Jager decided to remove the body. Carol White and her daughter had gone to a friend to speak about the missing girl and Nic was in the house playing TV games.
De Jager, who said he had drunk two bottles of brandy, struggled to get the body out of the drain because it had swollen. “I took a knife and cut the skin to the tendon and then I cut it (the lower limbs) with a tree cutter.”
He hid the girl’s limbs in the garage and her torso in the boot of his red and silver Ford Mustang.
Later that evening, he drove to a secluded area about 5km away and dumped the body at a driving range before dousing it with petrol and setting it alight.
“I wanted to get rid of her… I was under the impression the whole body would burn out,” De Jager testified.
Back home, De Jager hosed his car, showered and went to bed.
The next day, he placed Charmaine’s legs in a backpack and rode to Somerset Mall on his motor bike to meet a client. En route he dumped the limbs in a field near Macassar.
The next day, on January 14 last year, Charmaine’s cellphone was found in De Jager’s jacket pocket, and he was arrested by police.
Cross-examination begins on Thursday.