LGBT dating site murderer accuses warder of homophobia


Jerome Benjamin

An LGBT prisoner serving time for an online hook-up murder in the Western Cape has complained that he’s being discriminated against by a prison warder.

Jerome Benjamin, 30, was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years at Brandvlei Prison in Worcester for stabbing a 64-year-old gay man, Graham Flax, to death.

The two made contact on an online dating site and arranged to meet at Flax’s Sea Point apartment.

There, Benjamin hit Flax over the head with a whisky bottle and repeatedly stabbed the older man in the neck and chest. He claimed to have been under the influence of the drug tik at the time.

Benjamin, who also goes by the name of Jade September, told the Son on Sunday, that a warder, named only as Adendorf, has repeatedly called him anti-gay slurs, including “moffie” and “pansy,” and has humiliated him because of his sexual orientation.

He said that he could not respond to the warder out of fear of losing privileges like family visits.

Benjamin claims to have sought help in the matter through LGBT groups and has even laid a charge of crimen injuria against the warder with no success.

“I’m in jail because I took a man’s life. I was on drugs and it is still hard for me to process. I often pray that his soul will find peace and that his family will forgive me,” said Benjamin.

He added: “I am still a human being and have human rights. The warder is homophobic.”

The newspaper was told by prison authorities they are aware of Benjamin’s complaints and that they are being investigated.

Murder victim Graham Flax

Benjamin’s murder victim, Graham Flax

Golden Miles Bhudu, from the South African Prisoners’ Organisation for Human Rights, commented that, “This type of thing happens every day to gay prisoners.”

He added that there is no respect for LGBT prisoners and that they are “usually extra-victimised.”

Bhudu also claimed that warders are known to place gay prisoners in cells where they are likely to be raped.

Johan Meyer, from the Pretoria-based LGBT health and well-being group OUT, told Son that prison staff should be given sensitisation training to be able to better deal with LGBT prisoners.

It is unclear if Benjamin identifies as gay or transgender. The Son article, possibly incorrectly, refers to him as a gay man and also describes him as a “drag queen.”

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