Amy’Leigh 'was not well looked after' during ordeal, says cop

“Not even an animal would have survived in the place that child was kept.”

This was the testimony of Constable Clayton Motloung who took the stand in the kidnapping case of 6-year-old Amy’Leigh de Jager in the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court on Thursday afternoon.

Without going into details, he said that Amy'Leigh “was not well looked after”.

Earlier, Motloung told the court that the three accused, Tharina Human, 27, Laetitia Nel, 40, and Pieter van Zyl, 50, faced “very serious charges”.

He said that at the time of the kidnapping on September 2, an unknown man approached from behind and grabbed Amy'Leigh's five-year-old brother, but later let him go. He then grabbed Amy’Leigh and got into a white Toyota Fortuner which then sped off.

Police were called to the scene and a case of kidnapping was reported.

Tharina Human, Laetitia Nel and Pieter van Zyl appear in court on September 19. The trio is accused of kidnapping six-year-old Amy'Leigh de Jager.
Tharina Human, Laetitia Nel and Pieter van Zyl appear in court on September 19. The trio is accused of kidnapping six-year-old Amy'Leigh de Jager.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

When he said this, Human started to cry. All three accused sat in the dock with their heads hung low.

Motloung said the state would oppose bail. He also told the court earlier that Human and Nel had no previous convictions, but that Van Zyl had a previous theft conviction.

During cross-examination by lawyer David May, acting for Human, Motloung said that should Human be released on bail, she would evade trial and influence witnesses.

Motloung said her child would not deter her from fleeing.

“There is nothing stopping Accused 1 [Human]. She doesn’t have property and her child is well taken care of. They are facing very serious charges. In some cases we have struggled to re-arrest people who have faced similar charges and fled.”

May argued that Motloung failed to check whether Human had a passport, saying that it was much more difficult to flee the country without a passport.

May further argued that he failed to ascertain the value of assets that she owned. The officer agreed. Human informed Motloung that she was renting the property she lived at.

He said the state witness in the case was a close family member of Human's who lived about 1km or 2km from Human’s mother’s house.

He said the state has a strong case and would request a sentence of 15 years to life. 

May argued that not many kidnapping cases were reported in the jurisdiction of Vanderbijlpark.

However, Motloung disagreed, saying that there had been many women and children kidnapped and raped in the jurisdiction of Vanderbijlpark.

He further testified that despite Amy’Leigh not being harmed during her kidnapping, she was dropped off in a “very dangerous” place. On top of this, he said Amy’Leigh was not well looked after.

“It is a place where a human being or animal would not survive in that small place. She was not well looked after at all.”

He did not go into further detail about where she was kept, saying this would be revealed during trial.

After Human's arrest, her disappointed mother told the police that she suspected her daughter was using drugs, Motloung said.

“She was even crying. It was not tears of joy, it was tears of disappointment.”

May told Motloung that Human’s brother supported her fully and asked him how he came to the conclusion that her brother was angry when she was arrested.

“I want to put it to you that Accused 1 [Human’s] brother instructed me to represent Accused 1,” said May.

Motloung maintained that Human’s brother was extremely angry after her arrest.

He said the state expected to call two to three witnesses to testify, but May argued that he was not sure how many witnesses would be called.

“You can’t have two to three witnesses. Is it two witnesses or three witnesses?” May asked.

Motloung later said it was just two witnesses.

May had also argued that only Human’s immediate family members lived in Vanderbijlpark and wanted to know from Motloung who the state witness was who had close family ties to Human.

Motloung said the female state witness was linked to Human’s brother.

The matter was postponed to Friday.

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