Barney Van Heerden
Two men have been found guilty of killing Barney Van Heerden following an orgy at his Johannesburg home in September 2011.
On Friday, Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Themba Maseko were found guilty by the Palmridge Circuit of the South Gauteng High Court of the horrific killing of the 39-year-old Orange Grove resident.
A third man, Maxwell Nyathi, earlier admitted to the murder and was sentenced to 20 years with possibility of parole after 16 years.
As reported by The Star’s Shain Germaner, during the trial it emerged that Maseko had been in an on-off relationship with Van Heerden.
Nyathi, who had turned state witness, revealed that Van Heerden had called Maseko on the day of the murder and had asked him to come over.
Maseko then colluded with the other two men, who were his flatmates, to visit Van Heerden and overpower and rob him in the midst of having sex.
At Van Heerden’s home the men all drank wine and smoked dagga before engaging in sex. While having sex in the bedroom the three killers attacked their victim. They tied him up and hit him on the head with a metal pipe.
While he was still conscious they wrapped Van Heerden’s head with duct tape, which Nyathi claimed caused him to suffocate after they robbed the house and left.
The post-mortem doctor told the court, however, that Van Heerden was not alive when the men had left the house and that he had been strangled. His body was found the next morning by his domestic worker.
Lawyers for Maseko and Ndlovu argued that Nyathi’s story was a fabrication and that their clients had left the house before the murder.
Angus MacArthur, a close friend of Van Heerden’s who attended Friday’s hearing, reported that Judge George Maluleke dismissed Maseko and Ndlovu’s testimony as untruthful and found them guilty as charged.
After the judgment, both Maseko and Ndlovu then admitted to the murder, said MacArthur.
“This is the end of one of the most treacherous and painful roads I have ever been on. This is judgment day and I am relieved,” commented MacArthur on Facebook.
Maseko and Ndlovu will be sentenced on Wednesday the 16th of October.
There had been suspicions that Van Heerden’s murder was connected to a spate of similar murders of gay men in Gauteng but police have never been able to verify a link.