'I was not ready to flee before arrest': Amy'Leigh de Jager kidnap accused

Amy'Leigh de Jager, who was found unharmed many hours after being abducted outside her school.
Amy'Leigh de Jager, who was found unharmed many hours after being abducted outside her school.
Image: Supplied

One of three people accused of kidnapping six-year-old Amy’Leigh de Jager has dismissed claims that she was planning to flee before her arrest.

Tharina Human, 27, Laetitia Nel, 40, and Pieter van Zyl, 50, stand accused of snatching Amy’Leigh from her mother’s arms at at Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark on September 2.

During their bail hearing on Monday, Nel said in an affidavit read out in the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court that she was a divorced mother of two.

Her children, aged 14 and 10, have been staying with their father in Pretoria since her incarceration.

“I submit the interests of justice permit my release on bail. I have been informed that I am accused of kidnapping and extortion. I will not evade the trial. There is no likelihood I will interfere with investigations."

Nel said she was aware of social media posts claiming she was planning to run away.

“I’m aware of allegations that my bags were packed and I was ready to flee. I refute these allegations.”

A week after six-year-old Amy'Leigh was abducted outside her school in Vanderbijlpark, three suspects made their first appearance at the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court on September 9 2019. Two women, aged 27 and 40, and a 50-year-old man, all from Vanderbijlpark, are facing charges of kidnapping.

She said she would comply with conditions set by the court, and that her continued incarceration would prejudice her.

Van Zyl, whose affidavit was also read out, said he would plead not guilty to the charges against him.

Van Zyl, who does not have a fixed address as he had sold his house, said he had been offered a place to stay by his wife, who lives with their daughter, and by a friend.

“The fact that the sale of the property was at the same time as my incarceration is pure coincidence.”

The court heard that Van Zyl has a previous conviction for theft.

“There are no justifiable reasons why I should be kept in custody,” he said.

The state requested a 30-minute adjournment to prepare arguments in the bail application.

The hearing continues.

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