Amy’Leigh: High emotions in court as former friends meet

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Amy’Leigh: High emotions in court as former friends meet

FREE TO READ: Angeline de Jager was overcome when she came face to face with one of her daughter’s alleged kidnappers

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Angeline de Jager and kidnap-accused teacher Tharina Human.
PALS Angeline de Jager and kidnap-accused teacher Tharina Human.
Image: Supplied/Facebook
Kidnap-accused Tharina Human's father, Riaan Botha.
dad Kidnap-accused Tharina Human's father, Riaan Botha.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

“I am very sorry for the pain and suffering this has caused.”

Riaan Botha, the father of one of the accused in the kidnapping case of six-year-old Amy’Leigh de Jager, broke down in tears  outside the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court on Monday afternoon as he apologised for his teacher daughter’s alleged actions.

Botha told Times Select it had been a difficult few days since his daughter Tharina Human’s arrest last week.

“You can imagine what goes through a father’s head. I am still thankful, because she [Amy’Leigh] could have been dead today,” the weeping man said. 

Human, a primary school teacher, Laetitia Nel and Pieter van Zyl appeared in a packed court room at midday on Monday. Human, with blonde hair, was dressed in a long grey jacket. Nel wore a purple K-Way jacket, and Van Zyl, with a receding hairline, was wearing a khaki jacket and red hoodie.

Wynand and Angeline de Jager, whose daughter Amy'Leigh was kidnapped last week.
parents Wynand and Angeline de Jager, whose daughter Amy'Leigh was kidnapped last week.
Image: Deepa Kesa/Screenshot

Amy’Leigh’s mother, Angeline, who sat hand in hand with her husband Wynand, was overcome with emotion when she came face to face with her daughter’s alleged kidnappers in court, one of them a former close friend. 

Botha gave his daughter a brief hug and kiss as she made her way up from the court’s holding cells.

After the matter was postponed for a formal bail application and the accused made their way back to the holding cells, Angeline ducked behind the bench, tears running down her face.

Botha said he had visited his daughter in prison on Sunday, hoping that she would be released on Monday. “We are going to support her throughout the process,” the father of Tharina Human said.

Botha thanked the police for bringing those who allegedly kidnapped Amy’Leigh outside Laerskool Kollegepark to book. He said an innocent child’s life had been at risk.

“Through the grace of God she was reunited with her family unharmed.”

He continued: “Then I just want to say sorry to the community of Vanderbijlpark and especially to the staff and children at Laerskool Kollegepark who had been affected by this, I am very sorry. It is something that happened out of our hands. God will heal our pain and cover our wounds. I am very sorry and may God’s hand cover us and keep our community safe,” he said while wiping away tears.

Botha was later given a hug by Amy’Leigh’s grandfather, Christo de Jager, who wished him well and thanked him for speaking out.

Kidnap-accused teacher Tharina Human and her co-accused Pieter van Zyl and Laetitia Nel are escorted to the holding cells.
HELD Kidnap-accused teacher Tharina Human and her co-accused Pieter van Zyl and Laetitia Nel are escorted to the holding cells.
Image: Deepa Kesa/Screenshot

Last week a voice note of a man claiming to be Human’s father was shared on WhatsApp. In it the man said the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Amy’Leigh was “his one daughter”.

“She [Human] planned and orchestrated everything with the rest. It has been alleged that they were locked up last night. I never knew it but she was on sedatives and she needed money to pay people.”

Botha confirmed he recorded the voice note, but did not want to comment on his daughter’s alleged drug addiction. “I was not aware of anything and at this stage I won’t be commenting on it at all.”

The matter has been postponed to September 19.