The Johannesburg High Court‚ sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court southeast of Johannesburg‚ heard Charles Simmers’ confession on Monday. He was testifying in his defence.
Simmers‚ 29‚ said that had he lied in court previously because he was afraid‚ but he had realised that he will “get nowhere” if he continued to lie. He then told the court that he was responsible for teen Marchell Taljaard’s death.
He and co-accused Vernon Lawrence‚ 25‚ and Daniel Baartman‚ 30‚ allegedly attacked and killed Taljaard‚ 17‚ near her home in Boksburg in March 2012.
They are also accused of stealing her cell phone and jewellery and attempting to insert a hard plastic pipe into her vagina.
They had pleaded not guilty‚ but Simmers has now admitted that he had pleaded incorrectly.
Simmers told the court that he and Lawrence strangled and beat Taljaard‚ but that the intention was not to kill her. They only wanted to steal her cell phone‚ he said.
He said that Baartman kept watch while he and Lawrence attacked Taljaard‚ although he denies sexually assaulting her.
The men strangled Taljaard until she lost consciousness because they were afraid she would scream for help when they robbed her‚ Simmers said.
The three men and Taljaard were walking to a nightclub in the early hours of the morning when she told them that she wanted to go home instead. When they reached her home she hugged them goodbye‚ before Lawrence grabbed her and strangled her‚ Simmers said.
He and Lawrence then dragged her into a nearby veld where they kicked Taljaard and stomped on her head‚ he said.
Simmers said the men left Taljaard in the veld‚ believing she was unconscious‚ and pawned her cell phone to buy two bags of methcathinone‚ a drug also known as cat.
He said they were all under the influence of drugs and alcohol when they attacked Taljaard.
Judge Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen paused the state’s cross examination of Simmers to ask Lawrence why he was laughing during the proceedings.
“A life has been taken here. Do you know how serious that is?” she asked. Lawrence then apologised for his behaviour.
Simmers‚ who was out on bail‚ was arrested in July after being on the run and evading trial for more than a year.