‘Serial killer’ may be targeting gay men in Johannesburg

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

There are fears that a serial killer may be targeting gay men in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Four gay men have been discovered bound and strangled in their homes in the last ten months.

In each case, there was no sign of a break-in and little was stolen, the Independent reports.

In the most recent case, 39-year-old Barney Van Heerden was found bound and strangled in his Orange Grove home. Security guards found his car gate open and his front door unlocked.

In December 2010, Jim Cathels was found bound and strangled at his home in Berea.

Four months ago, Oscar O’Hara, 33, was found bound and strangled in Kensington, where he was house-sitting for a friend.

On September 11th, a week before Mr Van Heerden’s death, Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo, 36, was found dead in the same way at his home in Kliptown, Soweto. In this incident, the body had acid poured over it.

Police working separately on the four cases have not publicly discussed a possible link but there are fears in the gay community that the cases may be connected.

Forensic specialist Dr Mark Welman said: “It would be remiss of investigating authorities to not consider possible links, and they should certainly be drawing on their specialised behavioural science unit on these cases.”