Victims: Manolis Veloudos & Barney van Heerden
The Star newspaper has revealed that it has uncovered a shocking sixth murder of a gay man in Johannesburg.
The newspaper says that the murder appears to have similarities with the previous five murders that took place in the last 18 months, again suggesting that the cases could be linked.
According to The Star’s Shain Germaner, the newly discovered victim was a 47-year-old Northcliff landlord who was bludgeoned to death. His body was found by his tenants in August when they discovered his door ajar.
The man has not been named at the request of his family. As was the case in the other murders, there was no sign of forced entry, indicating that the man, who was also bound, most likely invited his murderer in.
Empty beer cans were found on the dining room table, reminiscent of the wine glasses found at the home of Barney van Heerden who was killed in September.
“He was not strangled, although we speculated that maybe he tried to escape and he was hit over the head, which is why his body was so close to the door,” an un-named tenant told The Star.
The man’s car, phone and some of his clothes were stolen.
Despite ruling out robbery as a primary motive, police have thus far refused to accept the possibility that the murders are linked or are the work of a serial killer and are still investigating the attacks as separate cases.
On Monday, Mambaonline contacted a member of the Hate Crimes Task Team set up by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to investigate murders, rape and attacks on LGBTI people for comment on the matter.
Mambaonline was told that the Task Team, however, is still in its infancy. A workshop is being held later this month and thereafter it will be in a position to begin to comprehensively comment on these and related incidents.
However, in a report issued last month by civil society groups outlining the progress of the Hate Crimes Task Team, activists expressed concern about the “political will” of the government to tackle the violence against LGBTI people.
The document also notes that to-date the government has refused to assist under-funded LGBTI organisation on the Task Team with resources such as transport for them to attend meetings in other parts of the country.
The other five cases in the recent murder spree of gay men began with Manolis Veloudos, who was killed in April last year. He was followed by Jim Cathels, Oscar O’Hara (33), Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo (36) and, most recently, Barney van Heerden (39) last month.
At least four of the murdered men had online dating profiles, which has led some LGBTI groups to warn gay men against inviting other men they meet online into their homes.
If you have any information on these or other similar cases, please contact Shain Germaner at The Star on firstname.lastname@example.org.