The dangers of online hook-ups have again been highlighted after the killer of a gay man was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Cape Town.
Graham Flax (64), originally from Johannesburg, met Jerome Benjamin (29) on a gay online dating site in March.
Benjamin, who is also known as Jade September, has been described by the media as a “cross-dresser”. It is unclear if Benjamin identifies as transgender.
The two set a date to meet at Flax’s Sea Point apartment on 3 March, where Benjamin admitted to hitting Flax over the head with a whisky bottle and repeatedly stabbing him in the neck and chest.
Benjamin then stole Flax’s laptop, cellphone and attempted to steal his car, apparently to pay for drugs.
Last week, Die Burger reported that Benjamin was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder.
“The sentence that I get will never bring back Graham Flax. I have already been punished as I have to relive the murder every day in my head,” Benjamin, who was dressed in traditionally female clothes, told the court in mitigation of sentence.
In her sentencing, Magistrate Wilma van der Merwe said that “only animals act like that towards each other”.
Flax ‘s nephew, Ronnie Tanur, described his uncle as an “incredible man” and said that “his life was cut short and I don’t think the family will ever recover from his cruel murder”.
It’s been reported that Benjamin is facing other unrelated counts of theft and fraud, and was previously convicted of drug possession.
It was initially feared that that Flax’s murder was linked to the spate of similar murders of gay men in Gauteng.
It is though that at least some of those men may have met their killer or killers through online dating sites and that they could have been targeted by a gang. It does not appear, however, that Benjamin was linked to the gang or the Gauteng murders.
The police and Tshwane-based gay health and well-being group OUT have warned gay men to be extremely cautious about letting strangers into their home.