Johannesburg - The man accused of killing a University of Johannesburg professor in an apparent sex crime, has confessed he used his relationship with the victim to gain entry to his home.
Now Craig Thomas will spend the next 20 years in jail after the High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Thokoza, south of Joburg convicted and jailed him for murder, with another 12 years for robbery. The sentences will run concurrently.
Carl Mischke’s body was found by his domestic worker at his ransacked Norwood home in April last year, stabbed in the face and beaten.
Thomas and Jacques Terreblanche were arrested that same month in connection with the crime, but have claimed they were innocent until now.
Thomas has now confessed, saying he used his relationship with Mischke to enter his home. It was then that he and his co-accused robbed and murdered their target.
At a previous court appearance earlier this year, Thomas spoke to The Star in the gallery and denied his involvement in the killing.
The Star learnt last year that Thomas had previously been a tenant on Mischke’s property, and that their relationship was more than just friendship.
Thomas’s relationship with Mischke was hinted at in the professor’s social media activity, where he posted images of a paramedic from Brakpan, known as Craig Robert Thomas.
He also wrote about the younger man on his blog.
On the photo-sharing website, Flickr, he had written underneath one image: “The very very strange time in November and December 2012 when I had to deal with the insanity and imbalance brought into my life by addict, paramedic and child Craig Robert Thomas.”
On his Twitter profile, Mischke described himself as “Complex but good-intentioned. Not single anymore (or am I?) Edges blunt and dull”.
It’s expected that further details of the attack will emerge in Terreblanche’s murder trial on May 19.
The Star learnt at previous court appearances that Terreblanche had been part of the plot to dump the murder weapon in Klerksdorp soon after the crime. He was meant to point out the spot where it had been discarded, but on advice from his lawyer, chose not to.
Two other men, Gary Azor and Tim Cooke, were also originally arrested for the crime, after they were found in possession of Mischke’s stolen vehicle. The murder charges against them were dropped, and their case was separated from Thomas’s and Terreblanche’s.
In November 2012, police warned they suspected a gang was targeting gay men in Cape Town and Gauteng.
Originally, Mischke’s case was thought by police to be a part of a series of killings of gay men, but later, investigators determined the incident was separate.
GAY murder mysteries
Police told media in November 2012 that rather than a single person being responsible for the murder of eight gay men in Gauteng, they believed a gang was responsible.
The gang and its members would allegedly gain the trust of their victims so that they were invited into their homes.
Once inside, the men would murder their victims before robbing them.
The murders began with Manolis Veloudos, who was killed in April 2010.
This attack was followed by the murder of Jim Cathels in Berea in December 2010; Oscar O’Hara, 33, in May 2011; a 47-year-old unnamed landlord in Northcliff in August 2011; Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo, 36, in Soweto in September 2011; Barney van Heerden, 39, in Orange Grove, also in September 2011; HIV/Aids activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar, 39, in his Pretoria West home in December 2011; and Rulov Senekal in February 2012.
Two gay men have also been murdered in Cape Town under similar circumstances.
However, police have been unable to forensically link the few suspects they have arrested to multiple cases.