Frank McKenzie was once dubbed the Rose Garden Rapist. Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA

Cape Town - A serial rapist, who is currently out on parole, says he is fed up of being under house arrest and wants to be free.

Frank McKenzie, 65, who was once dubbed the Rose Garden Rapist, has already served 16 years of his 20-year sentence, but complains the next four years of house arrest “is going to kill him”. 

According to him, he is not a “real rapist” because he didn’t stalk his victims. Instead, he says the women – all young and white – were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

In 2001, the self-confessed rapist shocked South Africa when he handed himself over to Milnerton police for crimes he had committed more than two decades earlier.

The then 49-year-old retrenched racehorse groom confessed to a range of crimes, including the rape of a young woman in the rose garden at larney Kelvin Grove in Newlands, and the burglary of the home of heart surgeon Marius Barnard, the brother of heart surgeon Chris Barnard.

Read: 'I am the rose garden rapist'

The unsolved crimes, set out in a 50-page confession, rocked the community in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Police said the man had committed his crimes between 1973 and 1980 and between 1983 and 1985, between stints in jail.

McKenzie described in graphic detail how he and his now deceased brother drove a stolen Datsun, picked up a woman hitchhiker near the Good Hope Centre and repeatedly raped her at secluded spots before dropping her on the West Coast Road.

He also confessed to the rape of a teacher in her car in Rondebosch, the rape of a woman behind her apartment building in Claremont, and a burglary at the synagogue in Rondebosch, where he was employed as a caretaker.

In 1981, McKenzie overpowered a man near Wynberg station and sodomised, then robbed him.

A picture of Kelvin Grove in Newlands Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA
Kelvin Grove Garden in Newlands Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA

McKenzie, who was married with two young children in 2001, told police that he had looked up his old crime buddies after losing his job in August that year, but his old way of life started haunting him and this prompted him to hand himself over.

He was sentenced in the Western Cape High Court in July 2002.

Speaking to the Daily Voice, the convicted rapist, who now rents a room in Retreat, says he has served his time and should be allowed to live a “normal” life.

According to his parole conditions, he is only allowed to leave his residence for medical reasons and to report to his parole officer in the Cape Town CBD.

He is currently unemployed. 

“I handed myself over to Milnerton SAPS in 2001, 23 years after my crimes. The rapes occurred during the festive season of 1978 and in the Southern Suburbs.

“I never told anyone about any of the rapes and police were also shocked when I handed myself over,” he says. 

Also read: Cops dig up dockets on 'rose garden rapist'

“I didn’t know the victims. I didn’t stalk them. Like the judge also said then, they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. The media at the time dubbed me the ‘Rose Garden Rapist’. 

“I raped five women, aged between 19 and 23 years old, all white women.”

He says the reason the women were raped was because they interrupted him during a crime. 

“I am not a rapist. I was a burglar and a thief, never before ‘78 had I raped or even after that,” he admits.

“I was a person who loved money. The reason the women got raped was because when the rapes occurred, I was trying to rob or steal something.”

He says his first victim was the young woman from the Kelvin Grove Club. 

“I was trying to break into the tuck shop and she sat down on the bench right in front of the tuckshop. I hid in the bushes, but she was waiting for someone and I felt like I was waiting forever; I was very impatient,” McKenzie says. 

“I went to her, put a knife to her throat, robbed her and then it happened. They [victims] usually also wore jewellery and I would rob them. There would be a struggle and their clothing would move up and it triggered me.”

McKenzie says he regrets his life of crime and wants to walk a straight path. He has served 12 years in jail, and four years under house arrest, with another four to go.

“I do feel ashamed for what I have done and I felt most ashamed when I got out from prison,” he admits.

“I cannot endure another four years of house arrest. It stresses me out. I cannot go where I want. I always have to rush back home. I lost my family, and I want to find my wife, my children. 

“I have served my punishment. In the old regime, one would only have served a quarter of your time. There’s no way in hell I would end up back in prison on these things. 

“I am going to die if I still have to do another four years under house arrest. I need my freedom. I am getting older, I want to get to know my family, especially my children, again.

“I want to locate my people and being under house arrest is not allowing me to.” 

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