Wanted SA fugitive and murder accused caught in Brazil extradited to face trial

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Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren.
Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren.
Netwerk24/file
  • Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren was arrested in Rio De Janeiro after being on the wanted list for 7 years. 
  • He allegedly fled the country just days before standing trial in 2013 for the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend in Johannesburg in 2011.
  • Van Vuuren allegedly fled the country with false documents.

Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren was extradited from Brazil on Friday, and is set to face the music back in South Africa after being a fugitive for seven years, after he allegedly fled his murder trial for the alleged killing of his ex-girlfriend in 2011 .

According to police, Van Vuuren was meant to stand trial in 2013 after allegedly stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Venter, to death outside her home in Johannesburg in December 2011. 

Van Vuuren allegedly attempted suicide at the crime scene. He was later charged with a charge of murder in the Randburg Magistrate's Court. 

The case moved to the Johannesburg High Court where he was granted bail, but fled the country days before the start of his trial in May 2013.

The 39-year-old used false travel documents to skip the country, police said.

ALSO READ | Wanted SA fugitive and murder accused finally caught in Brazil, 7 years on

"Subsequent to this, a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol Pretoria wherein a process to trace and track him down was expedited. He was later arrested by Brazilian authorities in August 2013 on a charge of false documentation and [was] regrettably released in 2015 after serving a sentence for this crime.

Contact

"For a number of years, Interpol Pretoria had been in contact with Brazilian authorities to locate him. In June 2020, the investigating teams collaborative efforts culminated with the arrest of the alleged murder fugitive at an identified address in Brazil," police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said. 

Mathe said Jansen van Vuuren was expected to land at OR Tambo International Airport at 13:00 accompanied by an Interpol investigating team who tracked him down. 

He has been kept in police custody in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil since his arrest.

SAPS management has hailed the work done by everyone who was involved in the investigation. 

National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said: “This is a culmination of hard work and the relentless efforts of our law enforcement officers including the Investigative Psychology Section (IPS) within the SAPS, Interpol Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Brazilian Federal Police.

"This is indeed a victory for us as a service, thank you to the team who didn’t give up even after years of hard work. Our focus is to bring closure to the family and friends of the deceased as well as to ensure that justice is served”. 

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