Sunday, 14 August
He walked with certainty in the early hours of the morning to a specific spot in the bushes of Philippi to point out the body of murdered Meghan Cremer. And before leading the police to the spot where her remains were dumped, Jeremy Sias told the officer informing him of his rights that he had “killed a person”.
This was the testimony of Captain Winston Pickard in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Pickard, who has almost 40 years’ experience in the police, was requested to conduct the formal “pointing out” on 7 August 2019.
Cremer went missing on 3 August 2019. Her body was discovered five days later.
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She was strangled with a blue ribbon.
Murder accused Sias had been to the doctor before his interrogation began shortly before midnight.
“He was a bit nervous. He appeared uncomfortable by my presence in terms of his body language,” Pickard said.
The admissibility of statements made to Pickard is being contested in a trial-within-a-trial, with the defence contending that Sias had been assaulted, threatened, promised a lesser sentence in a lower court, and not properly informed that he had the right to legal representation.
Pickard confirmed that Sias had told him that he had been beaten on his chest and back by police, but that he could not see any injuries.
“He said he was assaulted, but not that it involved the pointing out.”
He said Sias, in his mother tongue of Afrikaans, had been informed of his rights and that he was not obliged to make any admissions to the police.
“I asked if he wanted to continue and he said he wanted to.”
When asked if he wanted legal representation, Sias had said he would want that at trial, but not during that night’s proceedings.
Pickard, Sias, a police photographer and a driver thereafter drove to Philippi, where Sias instructed the driver to park near a bush before walking further, guided by flashlights in the pitch dark farmland.
“What was noteworthy was he took us directly to where the deceased was found,” Pickard testified.
“We walked a distance. We didn’t look [for the body]. He took us straight.”
READ | Meghan Cremer’s face was so badly disfigured that family identified her by jewellery, mom tells court
Sias led police to her remains in the early hours of 8 August, which he admits he had dumped on a farm in Olieboom Road, Philippi. He claimed to have taken her Toyota Auris for a joyride from Vadelandsche Rietvlei Farm where he worked, and Cremer lived.
According to him, he later found her body in the boot of the car and disposed of it, fearing he would be blamed for her murder.
He denies killing her.
But according to Pickard, Sias had told him he had “killed someone” at the start of their interview.
“[The notes are] his own words I wrote. It’s not my words – his words.”
He said he had asked Sias if he wanted to read the notes, and he had declined.
The accused did, however, sign the statement.
The trial continues on Wednesday.
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25 Jun 2021
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