Tshwane's homeless community offers to help identify murder victims

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The homeless community in Tshwane is ready to help police identify five homeless people who were killed in different parts of Muckleneuk.

Although police did not specifically say that the murders were the work of a serial killer, they have dubbed the attacker the "nocturnal prowler".

Since the start of June, the bodies of five men were discovered in different parts of the suburb.

Police confirmed that they were homeless and said they were middle-aged. All of the murders occurred at night.

READ: Homeless killings - Fifth body found in Tshwane, police task team deployed

News24 understands that the victims were either stabbed, suffered blunt force trauma from a heavy object, or sustained injuries inflicted in both manners.

Ready to identify the victims

The homeless community in Tshwane has now offered to help police to help identify their "brothers".

Homeless killings

Richard Wildeman, the deputy chairperson of the Tshwane homeless advocacy committee, who is homeless himself, told News24 that he and around 40 other homeless people in the area are ready to identify the victims.

"We have put a group together to identify our brothers. Somebody will know them," Wildeman said last week.

READ MORE: Nobody knew his name, but he was friendly - Magnolia Park community says about victim

"We have full confidence that we will be able to identify them. We are going to take about 40 guys there to identify them."

He added that while many homeless people knew each other by their nicknames, there was a very good possibility that someone would know victims' real names and surnames.

"[There's] always one or two people who know each other, [who come] from the same province or even the same neighbourhood. Then they end up here in Pretoria, sleeping together in the streets."

"Once we see them, we will know who they are."

Friendly face

While little is known about the five homeless men, one of the victims has been described as a friendly man who mostly kept to himself.

Nobody knows his name, where he came from, or how old he was, but the homeless man whose body was discovered in Magnolia Park on June 8 had been living there for more than a year.

He was known to the people tasked with the upkeep of the park, car guards in the parking lot and staff at Huckleberry's restaurant in Magnolia Park.

Several people told News24 that while the homeless man frequently acted "strangely", he was a quiet, non-violent man who eventually became a familiar and friendly face in the park.

Possible survivors

It has since emerged that there may be two people who survived attacks and police have confirmed this possibility.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed to News24 on Wednesday evening that the high-level task team, deployed to investigate the string of murders, established that two homeless men recently survived similar attacks in the area.

The two men did not approach the police about the attacks until now.

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

READ: Homeless Killings – Nocturnal prowler a balaclava-wearing lone wolf

Earlier on Wednesday, News24 spoke to one of the homeless men who lives in Magnolia Park. He believes he may have been the first victim of the night crawler after he was attacked in May.

"I was the first to be stabbed," he claimed.

"I was sleeping, he was silent and just started stabbing me. He didn't say anything."

The man then managed to jump up and ran into the street screaming. His attacker then ran away.

"He was running like a ghost," he explained, recalling that the man was fast and silent as he ran away.

The homeless man doesn't remember how he got to a nearby hospital, but said he was treated for several stab wounds on his left arm, stomach and knee in Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

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