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Alleged Mthwalume serial killer confessed and indicated that there may be more victims, says Bheki Cele

Police officers on the scene where five women were found dead in a sugar cane field in Mthwalume. Picture :Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Police officers on the scene where five women were found dead in a sugar cane field in Mthwalume. Picture :Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 17, 2020


Durban - Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Monday that Siphamandla Khomo, who was allegedly the main suspect responsible for the deaths of five women in Mthwalume, had confessed to the killings.

Khomo died in police custody after allegedly hanging himself, the minister confirmed.

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"It will be speculation, whatever we say about his death at the present moment. As you know, the law says if they (suspect) die in the hands of the police, IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) must investigate," Cele told the media outside the Umzumbe Magistrate's Court earlier in the day.

He said investigations were continuing into the case. "[We] have sent four more experts from Pretoria to come and join the [KZN] team."

Khomo indicated there may be additional victims, he said.

41-year-old Khomo was one of two accused who were allegedly responsible for the murders of five women in the Mthwalume area on the south coast of KZN between April and August this year. The men had been detained at the Scottburgh Police Station and were set to appear in the Umzumbe court on Monday.

The second suspect was released on Monday for lack of evidence, according to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Natasha Kara.

On Monday, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) confirmed that they were investigating the circumstances surrounding Khomo's death.

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According to a statement released by IPID, he had been booked out for a confession procedure and was returned to his cell shortly after midnight.

He was found the next morning hanging from a shower head and was declared dead by paramedics and a pathologist.

He allegedly hanged himself using the string from his tracksuit pants, Cele said.

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Also in a statement issued on Monday, the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) provincial secretary, Nonhlanhla Gabela, said: "We call for a thorough investigation on this incident. We're so hurt that one suspect is dead. We are looking for answers. We still believe there are other bodies of women around there. We suspect there is more hidden information. We also call upon the Minister of Police Comrade Bheki Cele to intervene and come up with answers."

Gabela said that the governing party had demanded a thorough postmortem to unearth the truth.

African News Agency (ANA)

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Crime and courts