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Gay murders: cops arrest new suspect

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IOL st Siphiwe Selby NhlapoVICTIM

Supplied

Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo was found dead in his home. Acid had been poured over his face. File photo: Supplied

Police have apprehended another suspect linked to one of a series of murders of gay men across Joburg and Cape Town after months without leads.

Investigators revealed in November last year that they suspected a gang was moving between the two cities and killing gay men, after media reports emerged on the deaths of eight Gauteng men.

All eight cases, as well as some that took place in Cape Town, were handed over to a provincial police task team to try to find members of the gang, but after 10 months without arrests, a breakthrough was made last month.

Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo was one of the Gauteng victims, found strangled in his Kliptown home in September 2011, with acid poured over his face.

The killing bore a striking resemblance to the other cases, all gay men found strangled or beaten to death after having invited their killers in.

Last year, police identified a suspect, Nhlanhla Msimango, who evaded capture for more than a year.

But on August 19, the man was arrested for another crime, a hijacking in Dobsonville, but police only realised later he was the same man accused of Nhlapo’s murder.

Msimango confessed to the hijacking, and was given a nine-year sentence last week. But it was only after relatives of Nhlapo heard about the arrest that they informed police who Msimango was.

According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, Msimango will be charged with Nhlapo’s murder and will appear at the Protea Magistrate’s court on Monday.

“The investigating officer will be profiling him to establish if he can be linked to other cases,” said Dlamini.

The only other arrests linked to the serial murders came in the case of Norwood resident Barney van Heerden.

Three men were arrested for the crime and their trial begins next month, but they have not been forensically linked to any of the other crimes. - Saturday Star


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