South African Police have finally admitted that there is a serial killer targeting gay men in the country and have announced a suspect’s name.
The admission came after the opposition Democratic Alliance asked a series of questions of Police Minister Mthethwa Nkosinathi after being contacted by concerned family members of the victims.
In the past three years eight gay men have been murdered under similar circumstances in South Africa and police now admit that four of these appear to have been murdered by the same perpetrator.
The victims include gay South Africans from a range of racial backgrounds and it is suspected that the killer met his victims through online dating sites.
Police say they believe a man known as Tony Boy to be responsible for four of the men’s deaths but they have been unable to locate him for nearly a year.
The first of the eight to die was Manolis Veloudos in April of 2010 who was found tied up and bludgeoned to death with a laptop computer.
South African police have charged a Nigerian national named Paulinus Dike for that murder and had already announced they had three suspects for two of the other deaths.
The next to die was 36 year old Jim Cathels who was found dead in the suburb of Berea in December of 2010. Like the other victims. He was found tied up.
Police later announced they were seeking the extradition of two men from Zimbabwe in connection to that case.
However only now have police admitted what South Africa’s LGBT community have long feared – that a serial killer was preying on gay men in Johannesburg.
Earlier this year police announced they would launch a taskforce into the deaths but only a single captain has been assigned to the case.
The announcement comes after a sustained campaign by South African LGBT health service OUT Wellbeing and family members to persuade the South African Police Service to do more in investigating the murders.