Man killed after Gumtree ad for BMW

2012-09-03 07:52

Cape Town - A Cape Town man has been murdered after going to meet the man he was selling his BMW to.

The body of Olwyn Cowley, 21, from Brackenfell was found at Monwabisi Beach in Khayelitsha on Friday, reported the Weekend Argus.

Cowley’s girlfriend (who was not identified) said he was last heard of when leaving to meet the prospective buyer. The BMW was later found abandoned in Mitchells Plain.

Three men were arrested for murder, hijacking and kidnapping after they tried to sell the car.
A police spokesperson said Cowley had been shot in the head.

An aunt of Cowley’s said he had met one of the men he had wanted to sell his car to before but the man didn’t have the money.

He asked for time to come up with the money and then called when he supposedly had it.

“Olwyn had his name and ID number, but police records show it was a fake name, although the ID number was real,” said his aunt, Anita Hanekom.  

Cowley had apparently advertised the car on online classified website Gumtree.

A woman was gang-raped and killed last year after answering an ad on Gumtree for a job in Observatory, Cape Town.

  • mark.p.oberholzer - 2012-09-03 08:20

    @eric, understanding the Khayelithsa demagraphic does not make you a racist. When did you last have a long look in the mirror......mmnn

  • mullervince - 2012-09-03 08:21


      gstatu - 2012-09-03 08:33

      No. in the old south africa less atrocities were reported.

      gstatu - 2012-09-03 08:35

      however, I agree, they must be hanged. preferably with their genitalia, upside down.

      greg.quinn.353 - 2012-09-03 08:38

      Agree but I really can't hear you over the sound of how loud your CAPS LOCK is

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-09-03 08:40

      where are the good all days of freedom, good schools, good police work, good hospitals ....

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-09-03 09:31

      no not at all, just miss the good old days.

      violet.bossut - 2012-09-03 09:43

      @mullervince please don't liken these oxygen thieves to animals. Animals do not do such things to each other.

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-09-03 10:11

      was not perks, just good old hard work, which most South Africans dont know. And that is why this once great country is a mess. well...

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-09-03 10:12

      oh, it,s got nothing to do with skin colour, by the way!!!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-09-03 13:38

      Why why!!! must you be a grammar nazi!!!??? oh wait it "i wear shades indoors"lol

      desertratbkf - 2012-09-03 15:15

      Filthy disgusting, savage, vermin! Burn them alive!!!!!

      nana.akua.12914 - 2012-09-03 22:08

      No era is better, disunity is what will kill us. Instead of commenting about the topic at hand, race, apartheid/ANC led governement story is raised. The criminal are feeding frenzy from the so called 'civilised society' which bear the backward midnset. Wish I can delete the memory of news 24 comments, its sickening and I wonder who are we in the real world.

      nana.akua.12914 - 2012-09-03 22:16

      We gotta grow beyond race and anything that separates us. I learnt not to judge the community of a people, for they are individuals (unlike certain spp of plant, bacteria etc.). By now Id be hating all whites for Ive been named, from a speck to miscreant...but I knew those were the untrnsformed ppl and I cant stoop to their level. Those who are in favor of old SA make me really wonder, and there are so many.

      caleb.bennett.733 - 2012-09-04 11:06

      Safer for who mullervince? for you? in the days when you walked and people of colour had to step aside, when you could have a person of colour locked up just because he was walking in your neighbourhood. Safer for who mullervince? for you? You are insinuating that violent crime is a black thing? I don't envy your inability to let go of your hatred. Shame man. I'm not judging man because you are a product of your old system but let go of what you believe was a better system. The rug of apartheid is 10 stories high with the dirt of the atrocities and we were safer? for who???????

      irma.geniuos - 2013-05-07 08:45

      This once great country? South Africa has never been great. Not even close.

      Jabulani Chamane - 2013-09-23 07:36

      mmmh what kind of a person are you,which good old days are you talking about,when blacks got arrested for being in a what so called whites areas,when we had facilities for whites only in one building where blacks were forced to go down to production facilities to relieve themselves.

  • MSGRule - 2012-09-03 08:23

    Such a sad thing, the classifieds worked so well when they started. But the prey/ parasites of society will use anything they can to steal, rape and murder. Working is not an option for these leeches

  • ziggamann.shepard - 2012-09-03 08:23

    ban gumtree

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-09-03 08:39

      um no... maybe they should just ban Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha? Remember guns dont kill people, people kill people.

      lindaawhelan - 2012-09-03 08:48

      The same could have happened if he advertised in a newspaper. Don't blame Gumtree because some of our citizens are disgusting criminals.

      peterdudleyryder - 2012-09-03 10:50

      And whats more, most of these useless bastards are not citizens at all - African refugees much !!!!!

      aijaman.pirlo - 2012-09-03 16:45

      Michael the article is clear..The dead body was found in Khayelitsha and the thugs are situated in Mitchells plain..Did the people of Khayelitsha killed this poor fellar?Why ban Khayelitsha?May the soul of this young man rest in peace..GOD shall answer those who take life of our brothers..RIP mfowethu!!!

  • thandim - 2012-09-03 08:26

    Terrible - I live in fear...SA is getting scary and scary...If we dont advertise online then where are we suppose to advertise??? Early this year I was scamed and Lost R3000.00 for an email I received with regards to my Events Management. Thats how I get clients but if they scam us then who do we trust??????????? Rest In Peace Olwyn Cowley... - 2012-09-03 09:29

      sadly scams are world wide but senseless murders for R10 and a pie happen mainly in Sa...

      cynthia.smith.71619533 - 2012-09-03 15:53

      It seems like one must try and stay one step ahead of these criminals and try and think like them. Then again, if you do that you probably won't want to leave your home> What a pity our country is on a roller coaster to disaster.

  • David - 2012-09-03 08:26

    RIP man! The attackers are sub-human and don't deserve to live freely amongst us. If this happened in Botswana, they'd be swinging from a tree already. These murderers will get 25 years max and will be out on parole after 10, only to do it again to this man's children! Shooting someone execution style for a 2nd hand car? Come on people, wake up. Why is the Republic of the Western Cape allowing this? These bastards walk around with us in shopping centres and rub shoulders with us on the beach in summer. Goodness me no, this has to come to an abrupt end.

      aijaman.pirlo - 2012-09-03 16:48

      what funny David..These killers will get lawyers and the law will say their human rights should respected but they did not respect the life of our brother..Only in South Africa where a criminal got rights than a victim..Talking abt Banana republic!!!

      irma.geniuos - 2013-05-07 08:47

      You'll soon be crying for rights when the police think you or someone you know committed a crime, torture a confession out of you (because they know you did it), then hang you from the nearest tree.

      Jabulani Chamane - 2013-09-23 07:13

      I wish South Africa had people like David De Bruin,I salute you,your statement is clear and not based under any race.

  • gillian.sanderson - 2012-09-03 08:28

    Shame,poor kid. You certainly didn't deserve this Olwyn. R.I.P.

  • bmaestro - 2012-09-03 08:30


  • bmaestro - 2012-09-03 08:32


  • steve.mario.31 - 2012-09-03 08:33

    I think they should arrest Gumtree and charge it with murder

      greg.quinn.353 - 2012-09-03 08:40

      You're quite the bright spark of the morning now aren't you?

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-09-03 09:29

      And your IQ is? Don't worry the readers just worked it out... GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!

  • belinda.west.543 - 2012-09-03 08:41

    Condolences and sympathies to the family with this tragedy. Sadly another victim of the disgusting state of crime in SA. Could have happened if he'd advertised in the local newspaper so not Gumtree's fault but believe me, these criminal 'buyers' using Gumtree are many. I've also been ripped off with buyers on Gumtree. BEWARE and be vigilant!!

  • 777productions - 2012-09-03 08:42

    This is sad ...very sad news. Unfortunately, one can't hold gumtree liable as it's merely an unforeseen circumstance. They do address many security aspects of meeting people online and in public on their site. I don't work for gumtree, but one just needs to be more aware of what's happening in South Africa and wherever. Regarding the issue of race - race has zero to do with crime. There will always be crime amongst humans. All we can strive for is a lower percentage of it...

      heibrin.venter - 2012-09-04 02:57

      @777: "race has zero to do with crime" - I beg to differ. Apartheid was a crime, based on race. The same applies here: the crime was murder, the motivation race, as it is in most farm attacks / attacks on the elderly etc. Stop stepping around the elephant, face up to it.

      RebeccaSmith2000 - 2012-09-04 11:19

      You're a liar. If race has ZERO to do with crime, then why do so many blacks PERPETRATE the crime, and why are so many whites the victim of it. WHY do you have to lie. South Africa is known as the rape capital of the plant, and pretty much tops in murder, and it is NOT the white people doing the raping and killing. DENYING the problem doesn't make it false, and it doesn't make it go away.

      irma.geniuos - 2013-05-07 08:49

      Most victims of crime are not white.

      Jabulani Chamane - 2013-09-23 07:00

      I think what you said replying to 777's statement is untrue,the writer said the race has zero to do with crime,it can happen to any humans but now you are specific that black people especially africans are the culprits.Let me reminds you that there are lot of bad things done by white people,covered by the media which is still controlled by the capitalists.Did you saw what happened recently on national television whereby a black policeman in full unirform carrying a gun with him,being chased by white hooligans,what would have happened if that poor policeman had pulled his pistol and shot those thugs,definately sure people like you would have blamed the poor policeman.My point to this issue is I don't know the race of the of the garage where this incident took place but believe me the ideas behind installing cameras on filling stations Were to caught black people and thank to your brainchild which I believe the court of law will deal with those dissidents and send them to serve long terms in jail.

  • james.hunt.161214 - 2012-09-03 08:42

    And still people persist with advertising and then meeting the "buyer" Eish! Come buy my car, meet me at XYZ police station...

  • cj.venter - 2012-09-03 08:42

    saw a similar scam in the junk mail. they had 4 adverts with 4 different pictures of a nissan almera, with exactly the same wording and contact number. my gut told me it's a "steal your money" scam, but when i reported it they replied saying there's nothing they can do unless i've met up with the placer of the advert. needless to say i simply stayed away from the dodgy sounding ones :)

  • lois.watson.585 - 2012-09-03 08:49

    This story is both tragic and scary! Sincere condolences to his family.

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-09-03 08:49

    The lesson to be learnt from this is : Do NOT SELL ANYTHING unless the potential buyer is shown the goods with a few good reliable friends of yours in attendance. If the buyer says that he will get the money and contact you,let him still meet you in an area with your friends nearby and DO NOT go to any area that would be suspicious.

  • tw2066 - 2012-09-03 08:51

    Eish ....... sick society. Almost ashamed to be a South African with all the killing going on. And Phiyega is more concerned with police deaths, while the ANC is more worried about "political killings". Poor lad, so young too.

  • gadija.ismail - 2012-09-03 09:07

    RIP,my deepest sympathy to the family for their lost,I think it is wise to meet buyers at the police station,we live SA

  • stuart.scully.31 - 2012-09-03 09:07

    This is a sick country we live in!

      ivan.frantz.3 - 2012-09-03 10:30

      The Country is NOT sick , It's the PEOPLE !!!

  • alec.lhoste - 2012-09-03 09:10

    Yet another tragedy facilitated by Gumtree.

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-03 11:06

      It could just as well have been any of the many online classifieds websites, it's just silly to blame Gumtree

      desertratbkf - 2012-09-03 15:20

      Blaming Gumtree is ridiculous!!!! It could have been an ad on ANY media, whether online, in a mag or newspaper! Get real!

  • sinead.combrinck - 2012-09-03 09:10

    makes you wonder how true these info are when you know the truth. They met at shell garage in canal walk. I still find it unreasonable to kill the man they could have taken the car if they wanted it and leave him. Why kill the man and abandon the car. The idiots didn't care to think they would still be caught;and a job well done to the police for catching them so quickly. Gumtree can't be blaimed we must be cautious and meet with people that's with us. Lesson learnt take friends with and meet at the police station. Race is irreilevant;they are pure criminals living thug life and not caring about the lives of others;they wouldve done it to any race. Just sad that liitle sentence they will get for a life lost.

  • sinead.combrinck - 2012-09-03 09:13

    Its those few people in the country that tries to give our beautiful country a bad reputation and the justice system is weak.

      jan.vanniekerk.52 - 2012-09-03 20:20

      We have a justice system? Really? I thought we had a legal system.

  • - 2012-09-03 09:15

    when a some moron phones and tells you to meet him somewhere to buy your car... the bells should ring...

  • mokheled - 2012-09-03 09:17

    Very sad indeed, its a shame we still throwing blames, whereas standing together to see them thugs never walk the street again. we put the mob to solve it if ever released.

  • Uwe - 2012-09-03 09:20

    @MWF - He met the potential buyer at the shell garage near Canal Walk, pretty public place... He was such a good guy,such a horrific thing to happen!!!

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-09-03 09:20

    these criminals come up with the most clever plans to lure people to their death - imagine if they could use their skills at doing a job, working to earn their money - but they choose the evil path instead - i hope they die a cruel, painful death some time soon. rubbish skabenga!!!

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-09-03 09:31

    *sigh* if only we had the death penalty. It would solve a lotm not everything,but a lot.

  • Eterni80 - 2012-09-03 09:33

    and there's a new entry on the list of things that will get you killed in SA :-( RIP Dude.

  • luca.delbianco.3 - 2012-09-03 09:37

    I agree with Adrian.Tyler: Gumtree got t/c which are there to warn and make users aware of possible scams and other criminal activities. I read previously that Olwyn had met already the prospect buyer before being called up again by the criminal. What could we learn about this crime is to bring always somebody with you when meeting a prospect buyer and let your friends and family know about your whereabouts. On another note, I would suggest Gumtree to stop hosting classifieds where users advertise free dogs to a good home.The reason would be that fraudsters could impersonate animal lovers, get the dog and use it for dogs'fighting. Cheers.

  • chabie.mohlala - 2012-09-03 09:39

    this is so sad...our condolences to his family...........

  • elmarie.olivier1 - 2012-09-03 09:39

    I was also thinking meet at the police station if possible, if that is the safest place? At at your house anything can happen and u don't want strangers in your house even if u are not alone.

  • francois.v.eeden.3 - 2012-09-03 09:45

    gumtree can do A LOT more to let this never happen again...they have ZERO social responsibility and just make money and do not give a damn.

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-03 11:07


  • elroy.felix.50 - 2012-09-03 09:51

    It is really sad what has happened. But something is not adding up here!! Why on earth would Mr Cowley go meet strangers in Canal Walk alone. And if the deal had to be made, how was he going home to Brackenfell with all the cash ???

      irma.geniuos - 2013-05-07 08:55

      Not sure about that, but reading the story elsewhere he allowed them to take a test drive and went in the car with them, completely defeating any point in meeting publicly.

  • dmutero1 - 2012-09-03 09:52

    Beware of Online Bargain Shopping or this could be you!!!

  • sithembisopa.phewa - 2012-09-03 09:59

    dead penalty should be brought back when u kill some one you also should be killed this is crazy. why is it so easy to kill other people. god gracious me

      irma.geniuos - 2013-05-07 08:54

      Shouldn't we first have working, scientifically tested forensics, an efficient police force that reliably arrest the correct person and a sufficient justice system to provide a proper trial? Currently forensics fingerprints, bullter fingerprinting and so on are not based on science (read up on it if you think otherwise). The death penalty is no deterrent, it's arresting and convicting people that is. So it really is time for people to stop grabbing the wrong end of the stick.

  • Skwertno1 - 2012-09-03 10:01

    Gumtree warns ppl, not to go out of your area to sell things, let them come to you !!!

  • mahendra.naicker - 2012-09-03 10:03

    there are so many scams on gumtree. BEWARE!!!

  • dkladis - 2012-09-03 10:07

    In my recent experience ...gone with the days that you could buy/sell on Gumtree, these days it is a playing ground for thugs!

  • dane.jenkinson - 2012-09-03 10:17

    I sold my car on Gumtree about 5 months ago, you have to be extra cautious. I got the potential buyers to meet me at the closest police station, I even got the police caption who wasn't doing anything at that point to drive with us when buyers wanted to test drive the car. This is SA people, seems we always have to watch our backs.

      dane.jenkinson - 2012-09-03 10:19

      Rest In Peace Olwyn Cowley.....condolences to his family.

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-09-03 10:20

    A few years back. After I bought a new car I decided to sell my old bakkie. I was approach by some-one in a parking lot that wanted to by my bakkie. I was waiting for people that was in the shop. having this man's sell number I later decided to phone him. He was apparently on his way back from Namibia to Cape Town and wanted to buy the bakkie for his dad. He insist of arranging a meting, at a garage, close to the airport because he can than work to it and do not have to rent transport to me. I felt a bit uncomfortable and when passing the new car's salesman offices I ask him if he cant follow me with another car to the spot. He told me that his wife were lure to a buyer to the same place the last week and she was rob,the car stolen, but luckily dropped off next to the road. I than change the arrangement to do the transaction in a bank(a well know place in a certain suburb on a main road.) and even offering to pay for the taxi if he needed to rent one. Well, as suspected the deal never went through. My suggestion. Always meet the person at an institution, in front of your local pub with buddies present, in your comfort zone/suburb. Never your house. Maybe a complex can work, but a house is a point of information that can lead to more crime against you. What I saw from police stations is that crime happens in front of them and they are not aware of it, being busy with complains and so cordon of. When buying or selling your comfort zone counts the most.

  • dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-03 10:20

    Let the people come to you when you are selling and never be alone.

  • ivan.frantz.3 - 2012-09-03 10:27

    When advertising your goods in the media, your prospective buyers should COME to YOU, if they are intrested in purchasing your offers. You are safer on your home ground!

      cebisa.mxunyelwakgopa - 2012-09-03 10:39

      These days they insist on paying you by depositing the money into your bank acc and they come & collect your item/s, after that the money is reverse, cellphone are off and you can never get hold of them.

      ivan.frantz.3 - 2012-09-03 14:13

      Potential buyers must come to me and I always specify that I will accept cash only ! If I dont get a satisfactory buyer, then I will repeat my advertisement again.

  • lrainique - 2012-09-03 10:46

    The guy was 21 years old, he had his whole life ahead of him!! It's so sad that life has become so cheap!! My heart goes out to his parents!! And may his killers rot in hell.

  • carl.lutzer.3 - 2012-09-03 10:47

    Had a run in with a fraudster too on Gumtree - maybe that site should seriously be jacked up or shut down as they have been labled just too many times as a problem ....

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-09-03 10:56

      Careful for the ones who put in magazine or website's photos on of a car, etc. Also ones "leaving" the country or sob-stories. Fancy cars going cheap.....and...and...and...

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-03 11:13

      It's not just Gumtree - it's ALL the classified's

  • jacqui.c.baumgardt - 2012-09-03 10:49

    Condolences to his family and friends. A very sad day

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-09-03 10:51

    Obviously Gumtree is not the way to go when you want to sell something. Too many thugs and thieves prowling around on the internet in this lawless country

  • matshidiso.rantai - 2012-09-03 10:54

    Did anyone read where they said Olwyn had a fake I.D. Am I the only one who read that? Why will he need a fake I.D to sell a legit car?

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-09-03 11:14

      Not Olwyn, the criminal

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-09-03 11:18

      The buyer / killer gave him a fake ID, not Olwyn himself.

      Jabulani Chamane - 2013-09-22 23:24

      Read carefully,it said the buyer not the seller had a fake ID

  • jaco.carstens.319 - 2012-09-03 11:07

    Meet your buyer in front of a police station!!!If the buyer don't want to he don't want the car.

      gerhard.minnaar.716 - 2012-09-04 01:55

      I don't think a police station is as save as one would imagine. These criminals are so arrogant that they will get into the car for a test drive then 2/3 blocks from the station will pop you. Unfortunately this event can happen anywhere. I really can't think of a fool proof suggestion to this kind of dilemma.

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-09-03 11:34

    carry a gun wether you going to the local shop to buy milk or to sell a car to a buyer buy a gun and learn how to use it properly!!

  • lion.afric - 2012-09-03 13:10

    What is the world coming to. Has life become so cheap.