Barney van Heerden
There are fears that the murder of a Cape Town man, discovered over the weekend, could be linked to a suspected gang that has been targeting gay men in Gauteng.
According to the Cape Argus, the body of 50-year-old Graham Collop was found in his ransacked flat in Plumstead on Sunday night.
He had been bound and strangled and there was no sign of forced entry; circumstances similar to those of a series of murders of gay men in Gauteng over the past two years.
Eye Witness News reported on Wednesday that police have confirmed that they believe that a gang targeting gay men has been operating in Gauteng and Cape Town.
In December, Maxwell Nyathi, Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Themba Maseko appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court 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.
Their case was postponed as police are still investigating the men’s possible connection to seven other murders in Gauteng. The authorities have also not ruled out that other members of the alleged gang might still be active.
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 nationally to be wary of whom they allow into their homes as, despite the arrests, other suspects may continue to target them.
The police have not commented on a possible connection between Collop’s murder and the gang.
Anyone with information regarding Collop’s murder should contact Detective Warrant Officer Steven Young on 021 710 7340.