Cape Town-05-06-2012: Moderator and Reverand Casper Edward Daniels from Brooklyn is the dad of Neil who he believe was killed and burnt on an open field in long grass in Brooklyn because he was gay.Here he broke out in tears pix Patrick Louw story Gennevive Serra

A Cape Town reverend believes his son was stabbed and set alight because he was gay.

Reverend Casper Edward Daniels, 59, says he is sure his son’s murder was a hate crime.

The attacker set his son’s body alight with the focus of the injuries on his private parts and legs.

The mutilated, smouldering body of Neil Daniels, 36, was discovered on Monday night by a neighbourhood watch member in a reed-filled area in Milnerton called The Vlei.

The Brooklyn man’s burning corpse was found two days after three witnesses saw how he was stabbed.

Neil had been private about his sexual orientation and only confided in his father, who is the Moderator of the Christelike Evangelie Sending Kerk van Suid Afrika.

“I think the reason why they killed my son is because he was gay,” explained Reverend Daniels.

“I think it could have been a discrimination murder on gays because of the way it was carried out.

“The way they burnt his private parts – why do this to my child?”

It had been Elize Simon, 51, the head of the King Road Weltevrede Neighbourhood Watch who raised the alarm on Monday evening when she discovered Neil’s burning corpse.

Elize had arranged a search party to look for Neil after hearing he had been stabbed on Saturday.

“We then spoke to three witnesses who said they saw who stabbed Neil.”

Elize was passing The Vlei when she noticed smoke and decided to investigate after contacting the fire department.

“I thought let us see if we can stop the fire and as I walked into the reeds, I saw him laying there and I saw his legs first,” she recalls.

“His feet weren’t burnt but he was burnt from the waist down. I saw the stab wound in his stomach.”

Reverend Daniels had passed the murder scene on his way home and was unaware it was his son who was lying there.

“I passed by and went home and got undressed,” he said.

He had become worried about Neil who had not attended Sunday services the morning or evening.

“My last words to him were ‘pasop (be careful)’,” said Reverend Daniels.

“I waited for him the Sunday morning and the evening and it was strange because he always came (to church).

“Then my sister called and said I must come quickly.

“When I got there, the forensic people didn’t want me to see his face.

“A woman from the neighbourhood watch, who I am grateful to, said it was my son.”

But a freak gust of wind swept up the plastic sheeting revealing Neil’s face to his dad.

“There was no wind and then there was suddenly a rush of wind and I saw his face under the plastic.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said no arrests have been made.

* Anyone with information can contact Detective/Constable Vernon Amos on 021-5283800 or 0860010111.

* This article was published in the Daily Voice