Barney van Heerden

Three men, believed to be part of a gang accused of killing gay men in their homes in Gauteng, have appeared in court.

Eye Witness News reported that Maxwell Nyathi, Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Themba Maseko appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the murder of Orange Grove resident, Barney van Heerden.

Van Heerden (39) was found dead in his home in September last year. He had been tied up and appeared to have been strangled. There was no sign of forced entry.

There are suspicions that the three accused were involved in at least some of the other similar attacks on gay men in the province over the last two years.

The case against the suspects was postponed by a month as police said that they are still investigating additional charges against them.

The murders of eight gay men in Gauteng under similar circumstance have been reported, going back as far as April 2010.

Initially, there were fears that the attacks were the work of a serial killer but police last month said that a gang may be behind the killings.

The authorities are said to be on the hunt for other possible members of the gang.

There are indications that the gang might be operating in other provinces in addition to Gauteng. Police believe that, at least in some of the cases, the criminals may have used chat rooms or online dating services to target their gay victims.

They have warned gay men to be wary of whom they allow into their homes as, despite the arrests, other suspects may continue to target them.

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