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TEACHER 'masterminded kidnapping of girl, six, from her South African school and demanded £110k ransom from her powerboat champion father to pay off drug debt'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/09/2019 Jamie Pyatt In South Africa For Mailonline

a person smiling and posing for the camera: Tharina Human, 27 (right), a teacher from Johannesburg, South Africa, is accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap the six-year-old daughter of friend Angeline de Jager (left) from her class in order to collect a £110,000 ransom © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Tharina Human, 27 (right), a teacher from Johannesburg, South Africa, is accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap the six-year-old daughter of friend Angeline de Jager (left) from her class in order to collect a £110,000 ransom The first picture of a school teacher accused of kidnapping one of her own pupils in South Africa has emerged - and shows her hugging the girl's mother. 

Tharina Human, 27, is said to have masterminded a plot to abduct Amy-Leigh de Jager, six, from mother Angeline's arms outside her school near Johannesburg in order to collect a £110,000 ransom to pay off a drug debt.  

Amy-Leigh, the daughter of powerboat racer Wynand de Jager, was eventually rescued after her abductors got spooked by the media coverage and abandoned her on a street corner in Vanderbijlpark, close to where she was taken. 

Human was said to be a 'trusted and loyal friend' of Angeline, and the pair had posed in photos together which were shared on social media. 

Facebook posts from Human's now-deleted profile show the pair referred to each other using the nickname 'heksie' - meaning little witch. 

a little girl posing for a picture: Amy-Leigh (left), who is the daughter F1 racer Wynand de Jager (second left) was grabbed from her mother Angeline de Jager (right) at around 7.40am on September 1 outside school. Her brother Jayden (front centre) was said to have witnessed the incident © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Amy-Leigh (left), who is the daughter F1 racer Wynand de Jager (second left) was grabbed from her mother Angeline de Jager (right) at around 7.40am on September 1 outside school. Her brother Jayden (front centre) was said to have witnessed the incident

Human was also the former teacher for Amy-Leigh's brother Jayden, five.

Human appeared in court Monday alongside Laetitia Nel, 40, and Jacobus van Zyl, 50, where they were remanded in custody while investigations continue.

Police are still hunting for four men who are said to have carried out the kidnapping. 

It has not been made clear what police believe Nel and Jacobus van Zyl's role in the kidnap plot was.

a woman wearing a hat: Amy-Leigh (right) was returned to Angeline (left) the following day after the kidnappers apparently got spooked by the amount of media coverage and abandoned the girl in the street © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Amy-Leigh (right) was returned to Angeline (left) the following day after the kidnappers apparently got spooked by the amount of media coverage and abandoned the girl in the street The hearing was watched by Angeline, who wept into husband Wyland's shoulder as her former friend was brought up from the cells. 

All three were charged with kidnapping and will return to court to apply for bail on September 19. 

South African site News24 claims to be in possession of a voice message sent by Human's father over WhatsApp in which he said that his daughter used narcotics and was in debt to a drug lord.

It is therefore thought that she masterminded the kidnap plot in order to raise money and pay off her debts. 

Reports in South Africa also revealed that, shortly after Amy-Leigh was kidnapped last week, Human sent a series of WhatsApp voice notes to parents saying their kids were safe but there were 'sickos out there'.

She also asked for money for 'flowers and a hamper' for Amy-Leigh's parents. 

Suri Cruise posing for the camera: Angeline (pictured with her daughter) was said to be close friends with Human and in Facebook posts the pair referred to each-other as 'heskie' - meaning 'little witch'

Angeline (pictured with her daughter) was said to be close friends with Human and in Facebook posts the pair referred to each-other as 'heskie' - meaning 'little witch'
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Shortly after the kidnapping, she was also seen outside the school gates where she comforted a tearful Angeline.

Human vowed to keep the couple's son Jayden safe.

The teacher then sent a series of voice notes to a WhatsApp group for parents saying she was 'as shocked' as they were and asking them all to pray.

She said to the parents: 'All we can do now is pray that she is safe, wherever and whatever. I promise you I am guarding your children with my life.

'I'll kill someone hey – I'm just as stressed as you are. We ask the Lord protects Amy-Leigh. What has happened is terrible. You can't imagine it.

'There are sicko's out there – you can't take chances these days' she said.

Human was arrested in a midnight raid on Wednesday last week, the day after Amy-Leigh was discovered abandoned on a street corner at 2am by a couple who had just left a pub, and walked to a nearby police station. 

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the suspects were aged between 27 and 50 and said the search for the rest of the gang continues.

He said: 'Amy-Leigh was released unharmed at about 2.30am on Tuesday morning having been kidnapped at 7.40am on Monday outside her school and we have made three arrests during an intelligence-led operation.

'We have arrested two women aged 27 and 40 and a 50-year-old man at their homes in Vanderbiljpark and the operation by our specialist teams is continuing and more arrests may follow and we will keep you updated.'  

a man wearing a uniform: Power boat racer Mr De Jager (pictured above competing) had been asked to pay a two-million rand ransom (£110,000) to see his daughter again

Power boat racer Mr De Jager (pictured above competing) had been asked to pay a two-million rand ransom (£110,000) to see his daughter again
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Distraught mum-of-two Angeline de Jager had just parked her VW Polo at the school gates to walk her daughter Amy-Leigh and her five-year-old son Jayden inside when four violent kidnappers in balaclavas struck.

Police believe Amy-Leigh was deliberately targeted because they threw her brother aside and ignored all the other children and grabbed the screaming girl who had been gathered up in her terrified mothers' arms.

A short while later her father Wynand, who is a champion F1 powerboat racer on the international circuit, received a mobile call demanding a 2 million rand ransom (£110,000) for his daughters safe release.

The pretty brown haired and brown eyed schoolgirl was snatched at 7.40am at the Kollegepark Primary School by four black men laying in wait outside the gates of the school in a Toyota Fortuner 4 x 4.

Amy-Leigh was dragged from her distraught mother's arms and bundled into the Fortuner which then sped off from the school which is in Vanderbijlpark which is just to the south of the city of Johannesburg.

But police told TimesLIVE that none of the £110,000 ransom the kidnappers had been demanding was paid, and that the gang likely panicked after seeing the amount of publicity the case generated. 

Amy-Leigh's auntie Louise Horn posted at 4am today on her Facebook page: 'Amy-Leigh is safe with her parents. Thank you Lord. Words cannot describe our praise. There is still a long road but thank you Lord.

'Thank you for a nation that can pray together. We sincerely appreciate every dear message, call and prayer.'

Parents Angeline and Wynand had been through over 19 hours of agony fearing the worst and it is not known what threats the kidnappers had made if the couple who married in 2014 did not pay up.

a screenshot of a newspaper: Police in South Africa issued an appeal for the return of the youngster (pictured) which appeared in newspapers around the world, apparently spooking the kidnappers © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Police in South Africa issued an appeal for the return of the youngster (pictured) which appeared in newspapers around the world, apparently spooking the kidnappers a little girl posing for a picture: After being rescued Amy-Leigh (right) reportedly asked her parents for a burger and to see her little brother Jayden (left) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited After being rescued Amy-Leigh (right) reportedly asked her parents for a burger and to see her little brother Jayden (left)

The South African Police Service confirmed on Tuesday that she had been found safe and unharmed.

A private investigator who specialises in tracing missing children Wendy Pascoe was called in to work along with hostage negotiators and tracing teams and the SA Crime Intelligence Unit to help trace her.

Wendy told TimesLIVE:'This is not something we usually see with kidnappings and what is odd is that the vehicle wasn't taken but the child was as usually the child is taken by mistake when a car is hijacked.

'What is also very curious is that the abductors seem to have targeted Amy-Lee as they paid no attention to the other children which tells us that they were waiting for her and they knew who she was,' she said.

When Amy-Leigh was found her school held a special assembly and released pink balloons of joy up into the sky.

Amy-Lee was wearing a pink dress, white blouse, black leggings and shoes when she was snatched.

South African media reported that police were hunting four black men and are investigating links as to if the kidnappers knew their victim and their daily routine dropping off at the school.

Amy-Leigh's grandfather Martin Brouwers recounting the kidnapping said:'My daughter was dropping off the kids at school and Angelina was walking them found the side of the car to take them into school.

'A guy just bumped little Jayden out the way and grabbed Amy-Leigh and jumped into the car and they flew off. Angeline tried to hold onto the car and she couldn't hold on and got hurt,' he said.

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