Amy'Leigh's alleged kidnappers to plead guilty

The suspected mastermind behind the kidnapping of six-year-old Amy'Leigh de Jager has reached a plea deal with the state which could see her facing a lenient sentence.

Tharina Human appeared at a Gauteng High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's court with her co-accused Laetitia Nel, Pieter Jacobus van Zyl and Bafokeng Molemohi. The group allegedly plotted and executed De Jager's kidnapping outside her school last year in September.

Human's lawyer David Mey has indicated that his team reached a plea deal with the state and the former teacher is expected to plead guilty at her next appearance. He told The Citizen that other accused in the trial are expected to consult with their lawyers on whether they would move for a similar deal or proceed otherwise this week. The case was postponed for this to happen. According to Mey, while they have asked for a lenient sentence in exchange for pleading guilty, it is still up to the judge to decide.

"I cannot reveal anything about the plea agreement but the matter was set down for trial this week and on Monday we did not proceed, it was postponed for today. Prior to this we had entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the state and we were ready to proceed on that basis, but accused 2 moved into a plea agreement, but not the same as ours, but by Section 112 which would have to be handled by a different judge on a separate matter where he will be expected to address the court."

The other accused were still in consultation with lawyers on their way forward with the case.

The sudden disappearance of De Jager last year sent shockwaves in her community.

She was snatched from her mother's car outside the school before being held hostage for 19 hours. The alleged kidnappers demanded a R2-million ransom from the parents, but De Jager was found alive before any money was given to them.

The Grade RR teacher was fired from the school after she was arrested on kidnapping charges.

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