Victims: Manolis Veloudos & Barney van Heerden

A police spokesperson has insisted that a serial killer is not responsible for the recent murders of six gay men in Johannesburg.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told SAPA that it was impossible that the attacks were perpetrated by the same person and rejected calls for a single task team to be appointed to investigate the cases.

“We are not looking at one specific person… cases are being investigated individually and progress has been made in some,” he said.

Dlamini revealed that one man was already on trial for one of the murders, that two Zimbabwean men were suspects in another and were being extradited, and that there were leads in some of the other murders.

He has not commented on the reasons behind the murders, although police earlier ruled out robbery as a primary motive.

On Tuesday, The Star newspaper reported that it had uncovered a sixth murder of a gay man. The other known cases in the recent murder spree 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.

The murders have a number of similarities: the men were all bound; they were killed in private homes; and there was no sign of forced entry in any of the cases.

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