“… if you want to understand the artist,
look at his work.”
True crime. That was my downfall. Serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and profilers like John Douglas seduced me into trading horror for crime fiction. The more I read, the more I wanted. How my parents didn’t take one look at the titles accumulating on my bookshelf and promptly dragged me off for psychological evaluation I don’t know.
After obtaining my Honours degree in Psychology, I did intensive research on serial killers and profiling in preparation for my first crime thriller. In the process I discovered Crime Library. A website owned by CourtTV, it was a fantastic vault of crime-
But there wasn’t a single article on South African serial killers. This was an omission I thought needed redress, as we have produced a fair amount of these murderers. As I was reading up on them anyway, I contacted Marilyn Bardsley and she said I was welcome to submit a story. I wrote an article about Stewart Wilken and it was accepted. That was in 2004. By 2006 I had written a further six articles for Crime Library, and not only about serial killers.
Unfortunately, another network purchased CourtTV and the new owners lacked the same appreciation for Crime Library. New articles were no longer accepted and eventually the website was removed.
Stewart Wilken, also known as “Boetie Boer”, killed ten victims between 1990 and 1997 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, including his ten-
The Sizzlers Massacre
During the night of January 20, 2003, ten men were tied up, shot in the head and had their throats cut in the Sizzlers massage parlour in Sea Point, South Africa. Only one survived the massacre. Money and jewelery were stolen from the safe, but was robbery the real motive for the mass murder, as claimed by the killers, Adam Woest and Trevor Theys?
Between July and September 1994, the bodies of eight women in their twenties were discovered in the veld in Cleveland, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. They had been raped and strangled with a belt or their underwear. The clothes found at the scenes indicated that these women had paid attention to their appearance. How had a serial killer managed to lure them to this industrial area? When David Selepe was finally arrested, he stated that he had killed fifteen women, but refused to sign a written confession. On December 18, while pointing out a crime scene, Selepe attacked one of the detectives and was fatally wounded. Meanwhile, more bodies of women were discovered, similarly raped, strangled and left in a veld at Atteridgeville, Pretoria. Was David Selepe the real killer, was he an accomplice of Moses Sithole, or was he innocent?
On September 16, 1995, the body of a woman was discovered in the veld near Boksburg, South Africa. Two days later, the police had found nine more bodies in the same area, in various stages of decomposition—a serial killer had been using this area as his graveyard. The manner in which the victims had been raped and strangled, was similar to both the victims in Cleveland, Johannesburg, tied to David Selepe, and those from Atteridgeville, Pretoria. Moses Sithole was found guilty of the rape of forty women and the murder of thirty-
In the early hours of December 18, 1994, Alison was abducted in front of her apartment in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her abductor picked up a second man and they drove to a remote area, where they first raped her, then throttled her into unconsciousness, and finally slit her throat, cut open her abdomen, and left her for dead. But Alison had an inner strength and a will to live. She crept to the road and survived the assault to confront her attackers, Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger, and inspire countless people worldwide.
Marleen Konings, a Dutch exchange student, disappeared in the final days of 2003, while on holiday in the Garden Route along the south coast of South Africa. The police determined that she had been travelling with a man, Rob Cowley. Further investigation revealed that “Rob Cowley’s” real name was Ferdinandt Mostert—an habitual criminal with a long record. Mostert was arrested and he took detectives to Marleen’s body. But she was not his first victim.
On Friday, June 13, 2003, Tanya Flowerday’s father dropped her off at a club in Randburg, South Africa. Her body was later found on a sidewalk, propped against a wall—badly beaten, raped and strangled. Ronald Grimsley, a drug addict, was arrested. He claimed that he had taken Tanya to two Nigerians, to whom he owed money, and that they raped and murdered her in order to make a snuff film.