Mthwalume suspect confessed to four murders before suicide

31 July 2020 - Police Minister General Bheki Cele at the release of the annual crime statistics 2019/2020 hosted in Pretoria, Gauteng, on Friday | Image: Supplied GCIS

Due to the death of the prime suspect, no court appearances in connection with the Mthwalume murders will take place on Monday. 

One of the men taken into custody for questioning regarding the murders of five women in Mthwalume confessed to killing four of them before committing suicide in police custody, according to national police spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is now investigating the suspect’s death. It is alleged he used the string from his tracksuit pants to hang himself. 

He was found hanging from a shower head, and was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. 

The man was being detained at Scottburgh SAPS from Friday, and was booked out for confession procedure on Sunday. 

During this process, he was medically checked before and after his confession. He was returned to his cell just after midnight on Monday. 

The Mthwalume murders have shaken the local community after after the bodies of five women aged 16 to 36 were found in cane fields in the area, located along the province’s south coast. The latest victims were found last week.

On Friday, two men were taken in for questioning and subsequently detained, and were due to appear in the Umzumbe Magistrate’s Court on Monday. 

Chief Prosecutor of the Umzumbe Cluster, Jabulani Cebekhulu studied the dockets in conjunction with the SAPS investigating team.

Cebekhulu determined that there was a case against one of the suspects, but insufficient evidence against the other suspect, and so the case was not enrolled. 

News broke on Monday morning that one of the two men had committed suicide. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the community on Saturday and assured members that police would be more visible in the area, with more patrols conducted.  

The community recently vocalised their frustration with Hibberdene police. Inkatha Freedom Party spokesperson Sfundo Ngwane said the community had lost hope when no arrests had been made in the case. 

Community members believed the murders were as the result of a serial killer, which was not ruled out by police.

Experts continue to be recruited to join investigative units, as the suspect alluded to there being more victims that he had murdered when he went with police to point out locations where bodies could be found. 

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