“Those five weeks that we lived together were one of the best things that happened to us,” said the former primary school teacher who is now a customer relations consultant in Cape Town.
“It was like a honeymoon.”
Kumi Hammond, 32, said he met Curran, 60, on Grindr in July last year while the Irishman was completing his two-year contract as the director of education for Mellon Educate in South Africa, an Irish-based development charity founded by philanthropist Niall Mellon.
Grindr is “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people”, according to its website.
They immediately hit it off, says Hammond, and by August they were madly in love, he claims.
“I was very in love with John and he would always say, ‘Kumi, you make me so happy. I love you so much’.”
For Hammond the romance was like a dream come true.
Last year he fled Ghana after his family rejected him when he came out as gay, and men in his community threatened to pour acid on his face unless he “stopped being gay”.
“Suicidal thoughts” as he tried to build a new life in Cape Town quickly turned to joy after he met Curran on Grindr. “John showed me what unconditional love means,” said Hammond.
“He took me to places I had never been to. Romantic weekends in Somerset West and Montagu Springs. He spoilt me,” he said. Hammond said he moved into Curran’s flat in Manhattan Place, in Bree Street, on September 16.
He said he stopped using Grindr after falling in love, but Curran remained on the app.
He’s cagey about the details of their open relationship and does not reveal his feelings about returning to their flat on November 6 when Curran was murdered and not being able to get inside.
The following morning Curran’s naked body was found in his bloodied flat by a domestic worker. He was stabbed 26 times.
Reliable sources say Hammond told the police he left the building the previous day not thinking Curran was in danger, as he had been denied access in the past when Curran had a Grindr hook-up. As he walked away Hammond had no idea he would never see his lover again.
“I’m still in shock over John’s death. I’m a zombie,” he said.
On November 23 last year, the police arrested Congolese Mitspa Onyoka, 25, who worked at a Nigerian pub in Goodwood called Fantasy Lounge.
It later emerged that Curran met Onyoka on Grindr and told security at his flat on November 6 to allow him into his flat. Less than an hour later that afternoon, CCTV captured Onyoka leaving looking “cool and calm as if everything was normal”, according to a security guard.
Onyoka appeared again in court this week and was returned to Pollsmoor until August 15 so that detectives can complete their investigation.