Man faces 10 counts for reign of terror in Table Mountain National Park

2019-09-02 16:28
Ian McPherson was killed while cycling on a trail near Brigantine Avenue, Fish Hoek in the Western Cape. (Pedal Power)

Ian McPherson was killed while cycling on a trail near Brigantine Avenue, Fish Hoek in the Western Cape. (Pedal Power)

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A man faces 10 counts in the Western Cape High Court for various crimes in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), which resulted in a cyclist and hiker being murdered last year.

Blessing Bveni has been charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, robbery and attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and murder.

He faces an additional two counts for allegedly contravening the Immigration Act, in that he allegedly committed fraud to enter or remain in the country and used false documents to remain here and/or that he possessed a false passport.

Bveni is accused of stabbing to death helicopter pilot Doug Notten, 57, and Ian McPherson, 68, within weeks of each other.

On January 28 last year, Notten and his wife Julia were hiking in the Silvermine area when tragedy struck.

His sister Caroline told the False Bay Echo that it was a path the couple had walked many times before and that all they had on them was a rucksack with the coffee they wanted to drink while enjoying their surroundings.

Their attacker had been well-dressed and launched at them from behind after they let him pass on the trail, Netwerk24 reported.

Bveni allegedly stabbed Notten, after which Julia pepper-sprayed him. 

Notten urged Julia to run away and Bveni allegedly hurled rocks and hit her several times before stabbing Notten to death, the False Bay Echo reported.

According to the indictment, Bveni made off with shoes, the rucksack and a watch.

McPherson, 68, was attacked and killed while cycling on a trail near Brigantine Avenue, Fish Hoek, which backs onto TMNP, on March 13 last year.

His cellphone, watch, Garmin device and mountain bike were stolen.

The oldest charge is an assault which dates back to October 11, 2017, when a cyclist was targeted in an apparent attempted mugging near the Silvermine Bridge, when Bveni allegedly tried to stop him and kick at his front wheel as he rode past him.

On January 12 last year, he allegedly threatened a married couple with a knife and stole a cellphone and cash.

Bveni is also accused of forcing a man down near Brigantine Avenue, Sun Valley, on February 2 last year and stabbing him with a screwdriver or sharp object.

A cellphone, watch and hand radio were stolen.

Bveni, who is from Zimbabwe but had been living in Philippi East, was brought into Court 12 of the High Court in shackles on Monday to tender his plea on the first day of his trial.

However, senior prosecutor, advocate Susan Galloway advised the court that the trial had hit a snag.

"One of our crucial witnesses has emigrated to England," she said.

It is believed that the witness in question is McPherson's partner.

Wearing a grey K-way fleece jacket, white shirt and maroon tracksuit pants, Bveni said he understood the latest development.

He would remain in custody until February 3, when his trial is expected to get underway.

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Read more on:    table mountain national park  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime
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