Eight-year wait for justice for the family of slain 12-year-old Jennifer Williams
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FOR eight years, the family of murdered 12-year-old Jennifer Williams have been waiting for a taste of justice.
Jennifer’s mother, Rachel Williams, said she had been left disappointed after a 62-year-old neighbour, who had been arrested and appeared in court, was freed and never placed back on the court roll.
The police have confirmed that the docket has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecution without any communication with the family.
The family said they had received no feedback from police.
Jennifer, who had attended Parkwood Primary School, disappeared in December 20, 2012.
Her decomposed body was discovered in a field in Plantation Road, Ottery, in January 2013.
An angry mob had attacked the suspect before the body was found. Police took the man in for questioning and charged him. He was provisionally released due to a lack of evidence.
Now, eight years later, Williams and her best friend, Chrystolene Johannes, said police sat with the evidence in their laps after witness statements were made that the body had been transported from its hiding place and dumped in the field which had been searched numerous times.
Johannes recalled the summer day the 12-year-old vanished.
“I was the last person to see her, and we were very close, she was crying that day because my child took her 50c piece. She said my child did not want to give her 50c back. I told my child to give the money back. An hour or two later, Jennifer passed me with a bathing suit which had a flower on it and she was wearing pink Crocs and she wore a pink top over the bather.
“She came around the corner and she wore her hair loose that day. I asked her where she was off to. She used to call me ’Mamma’. She said she is going to swim at her sister’s place in the Parkhurst walk. A few moments later, her mother came looking for me.”
The search began for Jennifer with large parts of the community and police.
Rachel said they had passed the suspect the same day the body was discovered. He was wheeling a dustbin down the street. She did not think anything was suspicious about the bad stench coming from it at the time.
Thirty minutes after they had passed one another, Jennifer’s body was found.
“He had passed Chrystolene and I, and had the bin with him which had planks sticking out of it. He said he had just done a job and was in a rush and didn’t want us touching the bin,” said Williams.
“The bin had a bad smell and we didn’t think anything of it at first, only after the body was found we thought of that moment.”
Williams said that after the body was discovered, certain admissions were made by the suspect’s relatives, that he had allegedly harmed the child and placed her body inside a bin.
“The one person said there was blood on his top, and he first claimed it was tomato sauce,” she said. “The other person, who we cannot name, said that the suspect hurt Jennifer and then put her inside the dirtbin. We just heard he was taken in and was inside court and freed again.”
Johannes said they were disappointed in how the investigation was handled.
“There have been so many cases which were solved and why not this case. Why didn’t they check the house and the bin and take the witnesses' statements?”
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said the case was transferred to the Department of Public Prosecutions.
“Kindly be advised that the case docket you are referring to is currently with the Director of Public Prosecution.”
NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the authority is looking into the matter.