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Suspect held after gay man’s murder

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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

Johannesburg - The police have apprehended another suspect linked to one of a series of murders of gay men in Johannesburg and Cape Town after several months without leads.

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

All eight cases, as well as some that took place in Cape Town, were handed over to a provincial police task team, and 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, Soweto, 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 into their homes.

Last year, police identified a suspect who evaded capture for more than a year. On August 19, the man was arrested for another crime, a hijacking in Dobsonville, Soweto, but police realised only later he was the same man accused of Nhlapo’s murder.

The man, who cannot be named because he has not appeared in court on the murder charge, confessed to the hijacking and was sentenced to a nine-year term.

Then relatives of Nhlapo heard about the arrest and informed the police who he was.

According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, the man will be charged with Nhlapo’s murder and will appear in 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 other arrests linked to the serial murders came in the case of Norwood resident Barney van Heerden. Three men were arrested for the killing, and their trial is to begin next month, but they haven’t been linked to any of the other crimes.

shain.germaner@inl.co.za

The Star


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