Dr Llewellyn Curlewis of the University of Pretoria’s Department of Procedural Law said that despite looking at recent media reports on the killing of five homeless men in and around the Muckleneuk area this month, it was reckless to announce that a serial killer was on the loose.
Curlewis said investigative stakeholders might be hesitant to call the person a “serial killer” so as not to cause a frenzy but also taking into consideration that no perpetrator or perpetrators had been identified yet.
The behaviour so far, however, was indicative of a vigilante who had taken their time to identify their targets.
He said he had no doubt the person’s psychological state would be the first thing a legal representative would have to take into consideration should they be apprehended and charged with the murders.
Of the kind of person who could be behind the killings, Curlewis said the culprit’s actions exhibited psychopathic behaviour.
“It could be a middle-aged man, who is built well and strong considering he has the confidence to attack only middle-aged men.”
Another possibility that could not be ignored was that the killings could be the work of a gang, Curlewis said.
“Incidents like these, where a killer targets a specific group of people have been witnessed worldwide. This person, in their own mind, has acquired a certain status by being referred to as a serial killer and possibly thinks he is doing society a favour.”
A resident has come forward with a picture of what is claimed to be one of the victims taken at the bus stop near Unisa where he can be seen with some basic possessions and a fire burning on the pavement.
Meanwhile, the AfriForum East Moot Neighbourhood Watch said it had increased its patrols in the Muckleneuk area.
Hillel Coetzer, AfriForum’s head of community safety for the northern region, said the neighbourhood watch members patrolled on foot and in vehicles to improve visibility in the area, as well as to crack down on criminal activities.
“In instances like these, the community - which has the necessary resources at its disposal - must stand up for those people whose voices cannot be heard.”
“The attacks on homeless people cannot be ignored. AfriForum’s structures are here to offer assistance to communities and improve safety,” said Andries Opperman, chairperson of AfriForum’s East Moot Neighbourhood Watch.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said there had been no new developments to date.