Two of the three supposed masterminds behind an extorition plot which featured the kidnapping of a six-year-old girl have been told they will not get bail ahead of their impending trial. Laetitia Nel, Pieter van Zyl and Grade R teacher Tharina Human are all believed to have abducted Amy'Leigh de Jager in September.
Tharina Human: Denied bailPieter van Zyl: Denied bailLaetitia Nel: Granted bail
Bail denied for Amy'Leigh de Jager kidnappers
The bizarre scheme, which saw the child returned to her family less than 24 hours after she was snatched, made international headlines and struck fear into the hears of all South Africans. Thankfully, the hare-brained plan fizzled out, and the authorities were able to track the alleged perpetrators down immediately.
The motivations behind the crime have painted a colourful picture of a suburban scandal. Tharina Human, who was said to have a close friendship with the victim's mother, is accused of needing money to pay off a Nigerian drug dealer. The group at first demanded a ransom of R2 million, before the heat got too intense for them. They were aware that the parents of Amy'Leigh de Jager were relatively wealthy:
#AmyLeighDeJager Kotha says the kidnapping was premeditated for a long time and victim carefully chosen due to the high ransom amount.— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) October 11, 2019
Tharina Human's case falls apart
Human has been characterised as the brains of the operation. Her apparent friendship with the mother of Amy'Leigh de Jager and her position as a teacher of young child makes this story even more salacious. Earlier this month, the 27-year-old argued that she was no flight risk as part of her bid for bail
She also told the courts she would not intimidate witnesses, and has a clean criminal record. The accused's affidavit tried to strike a sympathetic tone, claiming she doesn't earn that much (R8 500 a month) and that she's currently going through a divorce. However, the courts remained stoney-faced in their judgement.
Nel, a 40-year-old mother and the only person of the trio who successfully applied for bail, told the courts that she needed to look after her wheelchair-bound father. The co-accused also reminded the judge that the information she provided to the authorities lead to the arrest of Tharina Human, shortly after Amy'Leigh de Jager was found.
#AmyLeighDeJager JUST IN Vanderbijlpark Magistrates Court has denied Tharina Human and Pieter van Zyl bail. Laetitia Nel granted R25 000 bail.— Mia Lindeque (@MiaLindeque) October 11, 2019
More to follow