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Sun Jul 05 23:04:29 SAST 2015

I thought Mare was dead: de Jager

Sapa | 12 March, 2014 17:02

Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Teenager Charmaine Mare never regained consciousness after falling in a bathroom and her body was cold, the Western Cape High Court heard.

Her guardian at the time, 49-year-old Johannes Christiaan de Jager, testified that these signs made him believe she was dead and he decided to hide her body in a drain.

De Jager, 49, has denied killing Mare last January while his girlfriend, her daughter and his son were away on a cruise.

He maintains she fell to her death when he grabbed her arm in the bathroom to reprimand her for taking her time.

"You'd agree with me that to lie there motionless does not mean a person is dead. The person could be unconscious," prosecutor Romay van Rooyen said.

De Jager replied she was correct but he had felt for a pulse twice.

"When you felt the pulse, were you now dead sure she was indeed dead?"

De Jager said she was dead according to him.

"And if I'm correct, you must correct me if I'm wrong, you're not a medical doctor," she said.

He said that was correct.

"And you know in this country it's only a medical doctor who can declare a person dead?"

He said this was correct but added that it took him 15 minutes to drag her body through the house to the drain and she had not woken up in that time.

He did not check her pulse before putting her in the drain but said her body was cold. He was not sure whether her eyes were open or closed.

Van Rooyen asked if he had opened Mare's eyes to check for signs of life.

"I'm not a medical doctor. I don't know that," he replied.

The prosecutor asked why he had not called an ambulance to help Mare.

He replied that he had not been thinking and that if he had been, he would never have hid her body.

"But you thought clearly enough to think: Well, she is dead. I'm going to drag her to the drain."

She added that he had also been thinking when he had felt for a pulse twice.

"If I was thinking clearly I was going to ask someone for help," he replied.

Cross-examination will resume on Thursday.

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