There are fears a serial killer is targeting gay men in Johannesburg after four gay men were found tied up and strangled in the city over a 10-month period.

Berea resident Jim Cathels’ body was found in December 2010. In June 2011 Oscar O’Hara, who was housesitting a Kensington home, was found dead. Next was Siphiwe Nhlapo, murdered in Soweto on September 11, followed by Barney van Heerden on September 19.

The victims were of different races, and the only thing connecting them was their sexuality.

Two of the men were known to use the internet for dating, but there is no evidence that any had had sex with their killer before they died.

Nhlapo’s death differed from the others in that acid had been poured on his body after death. Forensic specialist Dr Mark Welman suggested this may have been an attempt to destroy evidence.

Considering the strength that would have been needed, Welman said this suggested the killer was very strong or the killings were the work of a group of people.

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