Cape Town - Terrified Charmaine Mare spent her last days alive begging people to save her from the man accused of killing and dismembering her.
The grim details of how the 16-year-old was harassed, attacked and mutilated emerged in the Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Mechanic and dad-of-two Johannes de Jager appeared in court for Charmaine’s murder and his bail hearing.
De Jager sat with his jaw clenched as investigating officer Daniel Peter Sampson revealed how they caught the man dubbed the “Butcher of Kraaifontein”.
“On January 14, Kraaifontein SAPS got a call reporting the body of a woman whose legs and arms were missing in Darwin Street near the shooting range,” Sampson told the court. “The body had been burnt.”
He said the day before he had seen a flyer for a missing girl at a nearby BP petrol station.
“It occurred to me that the body that was found could be of the girl I saw the previous day,” he said.
Sampson said on the Tuesday while at the morgue he noticed the corpse had a tongue ring.
He then returned to the BP garage and found the flyer and called the contact number on it.
“I spoke to a woman and explained that they should come into the [police] station,” he said.
“The accused before the court arrived with a neighbour Sonia, his girlfriend Carol, the girlfriend’s daughter Kristen and the accused’s son Nick.”
Sampson asked the group who was last seen with the deceased and Kristen said it was “Oom Johan” (De Jager).
Carol, Nick and Kristen had been on a boat trip at the Waterfront leaving Charmaine and De Jager alone at home from Monday, January 7.
Sampson said De Jager told him he had last seen Charmaine when she left for the shops and had not returned.
The officer said after further questioning and finding Charmaine’s cellphone in De Jager’s jacket pocket, he arrested him.
“He said he did not mean to kill her,” said Sampson.
The officer then told the court how they believe Charmaine had died.
He told the court De Jager and Charmaine had a struggle in the bathroom.
“She fell in the bathroom and hit her head. He dragged her into the passage, through the kitchen and braai area, where he put her body in a drain outside that is about a metre deep,” Sampson explained.
Later he allegedly tried to remove the body but because it was stiff he allegedly cut off her arms and legs to get her out.
Charmaine’s torso was dumped and set alight in a field in Windsor Park. Her arms were found close to his bakkie at the garage of the house and her legs on the N2 near Firgrove.
“We recovered more DNA from the drain and are still waiting on the results,” he added.
Police also recovered DNA samples in the boot of the accused’s Ford Mustang and traces of blood in the house.
A saw and bolt cutter were handed in as evidence as tools used to dismember Charmaine.
State Prosecutor Juan Crous asked Sampson how Charmaine’s arms and legs were recovered.
“While in custody I made him aware of his rights again and he said he understood and was willing to tell me where to find them,” Sampson explained.
“He said they [arms] were on the floor under a car. They were found wrapped in newspapers in one of the double garages [at his Kraaifontein house].
“When I asked about the legs he said he threw them away and the day after his court appearance he showed us to a house in Firgrove along the N2.”
But the most chilling evidence came from the victim’s cellphone.
Sampson says they recovered data from Charmaine’s cellphone and found BBM messages from the teen to Kristen claiming De Jager was sexually harassing her.
“She messaged Kristen on January 11 and said Oom Johan was lying on the bed with her and does not want to leave her alone,” Sampson said.
“And that he wanted to have sex with her.
“Kristen then showed the message to her mother who then tried to get in touch with the accused but could not get through.
“The deceased also contacted another woman on Facebook and told her the accused wanted to have sex with her.”
When asked if the deceased went out seeking help Sampson said she went to an estate agent identified in court only as Adrian and asked for money to escape.
“She told him about the sexual advances and asked for money to get away but she never got it,” said Sampson.
Sampson said the State was opposing bail because De Jager was a danger to society. De Jager’s lawyer, Wildre Fourie, is due to cross-examine Sampson on Thursday.
Cape Argus, Daily Voice