Homeless killings: Fourth victim identified as a foreign national

2019-12-13 06:00
Sihle Sikhakhane, 27, came to Johannesburg from Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape in the hope of finding work. (Chris Gilili, GroundUp)

Sihle Sikhakhane, 27, came to Johannesburg from Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape in the hope of finding work. (Chris Gilili, GroundUp)

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Almost seven months after the discovery of the bodies of five homeless men in different parts of Muckleneuk, the police have finally identified the fourth victim. The five men are believed to have been murdered by the so-called Nocturnal Prowler who wreaked havoc on the homeless community in Tshwane.

READ | Homeless killings: What we know so far about the Tshwane murders

The first body was found on a veld near Mears Park train station on June 1, according to the police.

Two more bodies were found in Magnolia Park on June 8 and 9 and a fourth was found on a pavement on the corner of Justice Mohammed and Troye streets on June 18.

The fifth and most recent body was found at a bus stop near Unisa's main campus on June 19.

Homeless killings

Coinciding with the discovery of the fifth body, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela instructed a high-level task team - comprising forensics specialists, including pathologists and criminal psychologists, crime intelligence officers and detectives - to prioritise the investigation.

While little information has been released, the police have confirmed all the victims were homeless, middle-aged males. All were murdered at night, presumably while they were sleeping.

Fourth body identified

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed to News24 on Thursday autopsies have been completed and the cause of death in all the cases was multiple stab wounds.

By the end of June, the police managed to positively identify three of the victims. By August, two had been buried after the police managed to trace the families.

READ| Homeless killings: Families of 2 victims traced, finally lay them to rest

At the time, Peters said the police were still trying to locate the third victim's next of kin.

On Thursday, Peters confirmed further progress had been made after the fourth victim was identified as a foreign national.

The police are not disclosing the identities of the victims because the case is still under investigation.

Survivors

News24 previously confirmed two homeless men, who were allegedly attacked by the Nocturnal Prowler, had been interviewed by the police.

Peters told News24 the task team had established the men had survived similar attacks in the area. They had not approached the police about the attacks until now.

The men reported their attacker had worn a balaclava, attacked them during the evening while they were sleeping and acted alone.

EXCLUSIVE | Homeless Killings: Nocturnal prowler a balaclava-wearing lone wolf

News24 also spoke to one man who believed he might have been the first victim of the Nocturnal Prowler in May.

The man, recounting his ordeal, said the attack happened at around 03:00 and his attacker was wearing a black hooded jacket and wielding a large knife. He added he was stabbed multiple times. He had been sleeping under a tree opposite Magnolia Park.

Muckleneuk, Homeless Killings, Muckleneuk Killings

The stab wound on the knee of the man who claims he was stabbed several times in May in Magnolia Park. (Alex Mitchley, New24)

Suspect arrested for attempted murder of homeless men

A suspect, who is accused of stabbing two homeless men earlier this year, was arrested on June 26.

The accused, Manusi Mothupi, has made several appearances in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court since his arrest.

The first charge stems from the attempted murder of a man who was stabbed near Magnolia Park on February 21. It is alleged he used a butcher's knife to stab the homeless man in the stomach, hand and left knee.

The second attempted murder charge stems from the attack on another man on March 3, also in Magnolia Park. Mothupi allegedly stabbed him in his left arm and chest, according to the charge sheet.

News24 previously reported the investigation was completed and the State was ready to proceed to trial.

Mothupi's bail application was denied earlier in November and he will remain behind bars until his next appearance on January 23, 2020, when the disclosure of the docket will be made and a date for trial will be set.

The police and National Prosecuting Authority insisted Mothupi was not connected to the murders of the five homeless men.         

nocturnal prowler, homeless killings

The bus stop where the fifth body was found near Unisa's main campus on June 19.

                       

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime
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