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04 Feb 1994 00:00
Serial killing—in the headlines this week after the discovery of the “Station Strangler’s” personal graveyard - is a relatively rare phenomenon in South Africa, police and psychologists said this week.
The six cases unearthed by the Mail & Guardian show how difficult it is to categorise multiple murders of this type.
Two have a distinctly South African racial theme, four were sex killings and one was apparently motivated by psychotic greed.
According to Playboy magazine, the US accounts for 74 percent of known serial killers and Europe 19 percent. The first recorded serial killer in South Africa was Pierre Basson believed to have killed eight or nine people between 1903 and 1906 in Cape Town.
Basson ran a money-lending scheme, inducing borrowers to take out insurance policies naming him as beneficiary and then killing them. His first victim was his brother, whom he drowned on a fishing trip. When police discovered the grave of his last victim, a German’s farmer, he committed suicide.
His last words to his mother, as the police were excavating his yard, were “I’m going to get dressed for the police I have done no wrong.”
More recent cases are:
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