Victims hairpin helps nab ‘serial killer’

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Johannesburg - A hairpin that belonged to the murdered Livhuwani Mbodi was among items of evidence that helped to nail a suspected serial killer who prowled the University of Venda.

Another item that police found when they arrested the 24-year-old suspect at his home in Thohoyandou on Tuesday night included the cellphone of another murder victim, Brenda Ndove.

A student identification card and a cellphone that belonged to university student Sandy Thagisa, who was assaulted and left for dead in May, were also found in the man’s possession.

Thagisa has been discharged after spending weeks in the intensive-care unit in hospital.

The arrest of the BSc food science and technology degree student by members of the police’s special task team brought relief to students and residents in nearby areas.

Some of the murdered victims last month included 9-year-old Tshililo Ndou in April and 8-year-old Alice Mashau. The primary school pupils’ bodies were found in Golgotha village, not far from the campus.

The two girls had been raped, said provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Fannie Masemola during a media briefing in Polokwane on Wednesday.

The body of 45-year-old Ndove, who worked as a cleaner, was found inside the university premises on Friday with a deep wound on the back of her head.

“This gruesome discovery was made while the students of the University of Venda were still reeling from shock after the body of Livhuwani Mbodi, a 22-year-old student at the university, was found inside the institution’s premises in March this year,” said Masemola.

Mbodi had the same head injuries as Ndove. She was also raped before being killed.

Masemola said the suspect was arrested after police received a tip-off. He was expected to appear in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

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