Gender violence in the Spotlight

Courtney Pieters' alleged killer 'fears for his life' as he awaits trial

The man accused of killing three-year-old Courtney Pieters made his first appearance in a packed courtroom on Wednesday morning.

The 40-year-old made his first appearance at the Goodwood Magistrates Court, where the community turnout was strong, reports EWN's Lauren Isaacs.

Some community members and journalists were forced to sit on the floor, others stood along the sides of the public gallery, which is usually not allowed. Police officers also flanked the dock.

Lauren Isaacs, EWN reporter

The little girl's emotional parents, the sister and other relatives sat in the front bench of the public gallery.

Lauren Isaacs, EWN reporter

Saunders was arrested on Sunday night, a day after the young child's body was found in a shallow grave in Epping.

He faces one count of murder, one count of kidnapping and two counts of rape, but has not pleaded to the charges yet, Isaacs explains.

The defence has requested that Saunders be moved from the awaiting trial section of the prison as he fears for his life.

Meanwhile, many angry community members say they feel betrayed by the accused, who prayed and searched with the family and residents when the girl went missing.

The case has been postponed to determine whether or not the accused is qualified for legal aid representation.

Take a listen to the EWN update:

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