Suspect who hacked man to death, attacked two family members hands himself in
Cape Town – A 7-year-old Atlantis boy is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed, allegedly by his brother, while lying in bed.
The brother had also allegedly attacked and stabbed their cousin, who narrowly escaped with his life, a few hours earlier.
The day after the 22-year-old allegedly carried out the assaults on his two family members last Friday, he allegedly hacked a 40-year-old man to death and amputated both his arms before attempting to behead the body.
Reliable sources close to the investigation said the three attacks are suspected to be linked to the idea of a “sacrifice”, as the accused was allegedly galvanised by the word, and chanted it as he attacked his victims.
The suspect handed himself over to police at the weekend and appeared in court yesterday.
Community activists and sources who are part of the investigation have expressed concern over the family dynamic and social circumstances at play, as it has been alleged the accused may have needed mental health guidance in the past, and grew up in an environment where neglect had been present for generations.
Two other minors, aged 11 and 13, are still living on the premises with the accused’s mother, which is said to be an informal structure in the bush between Atlantis and Mamre. It is understood that the family chops and sells wood for an income.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that the accused appeared in court yesterday.
“A case of murder has been opened for investigation after a 40-year-old man was found by members of the community on (Friday) at 3pm next to Saxonsea, Atlantis.
According to information, the victim was hacked with an axe and had both arms almost amputated and wounds to his head. He died due to his injuries. A 22-year-old man was arrested on Saturday and appeared in court (yesterday) on a charge of murder,” Rwexana said.
Police did not respond to questions on whether they would be investigating the accused for the attacks on the two relatives.
The sources said he had been remanded to the Malmesbury correctional facility.
The National Prosecuting Authority is expected to respond in due course.
About the 7-year-old, Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Mark Van der Heever said: “We can confirm that a patient matching the description has been admitted to a Cape Town hospital and is in a stable condition.”
Speaking to the Cape Times yesterday, the source raised concern over a suspected cycle of neglect and abuse within the family, and appealed for urgent social intervention in the community.
The source said blood work was still outstanding, but the accused was not known to be a drug addict.
“Intervention is needed in the family, the mother also needs attention,” the source said.
Another source, working on high profile cases in the West Coast region, expressed concern for the children who were left behind, and said they urgently needed counselling.
“It is very disturbing and has affected two girls aged 11 and 13 as well. They are orphaned and the mother of the suspect took these two girls in her care.
The 13-year-old has Down syndrome. The accused is a victim of systemic injustice in the country. It saddens me very much,” the source said.
Department of Social Development (DSD) MEC Sharna Fernandez’s spokesperson, Joshua Chigome, said they would probe the matter.
He said the public could access social services and a dedicated team of social workers by visiting any regional or local offices closest to them, or by contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.
“The matter is before the courts and thus the department is not in a position to comment on an ongoing legal matter. However, the department is looking into the matter to see what social support can be provided to the family.”