Mugshot of Moses Sithole
17 November 1964 |
Vosloorus, Gauteng, South Africa
|Other names||The ABC Killer
The South African Strangler
|Criminal penalty||2,410 years' imprisonment|
|Number of victims||38+|
|Span of killings||1994–1995|
|Date apprehended||August 1995|
Moses Sithole (born 17 November 1964) is a South African serial killer who committed the "ABC Murders", so named because they began in Atteridgeville, continued in Boksburg and finished in Cleveland, a suburb of Johannesburg.
Sithole was born in Vosloorus, a poor neighborhood of Boksburg, Gauteng in apartheid-era South Africa. When he was five, his father died, and his mother abandoned the family. Sithole and his siblings spent the next three years in an orphanage, where he later said they were mistreated. Apartheid-era South Africa did not bother much with its black citizens, so little information about Sithole's early life exists, besides personal accounts. By his own account, he was arrested for rape in his teens and spent seven years in prison. He later blamed his stay in prison for turning him into a murderer. He explained his crimes by saying that the women he murdered all reminded him of the women who had falsely accused him of rape many years before.
To the people around him, Sithole appeared to be a mild-mannered individual. At the time of his crimes, he was running an organisation he had made up called Youth Against Human Abuse, which was devoted to the eradication of child abuse. All of his victims were women he persuaded to meet with him so that he could interview them for jobs with his organisation.Instead, he would take them to remote fields, and proceed to beat, rape, and murder them. They were generally strangled with their own underwear. He would proceed to write the word "bitch" on their dead bodies before dumping them. The first set of murders took place in the township of Atteridgeville, near Pretoria.
After a while, Sithole moved his focus to Boksburg and eventually to Cleveland. By 1995, he had claimed over 30 victims, igniting a nationwide panic. In some cases, he would call the victim's family and taunt them. At one point, President Nelson Mandela went to Boksburg in person to appeal for help but this didn't provide a breakthrough for the police.
In August 1995, Sithole was identified as having been seen with one of the victims; police soon discovered details of his fake business and previous rape conviction. Sithole panicked and he went on the run. In October 1995, he called journalist Tamsen de Beer and identified himself as the killer. In the call, he said that the killings were his revenge for his unjust imprisonment. He went on to claim that he had killed 76 victims, twice as many as were known about. Finally in order to prove that he was the killer, he gave directions to where one of the bodies had been left. The police tracked him down to his hideout in Johannesburg and upon being discovered, he attacked the police with a hatchet, wounding one of them. As a result, he was shot and wounded, then arrested and taken to a hospital where his wounds were treated. There, he was found to be HIV positive.
Trial and imprisonment
On 5 December 1997, Sithole was sentenced to 50 years' imprisonment for each of the 38 murders, 12 years' imprisonment for each of the 40 rapes, and five years' imprisonment for each of the six robberies. Since his sentences run consecutively, the total effective sentence is one of 2,410 years. Justice David Carstairs ordered that Sithole would be required to serve at least 930 years before being eligible for parole. He was incarcerated in C-Max, the maximum security section of Pretoria Central Prison.
- Kendal, Rebekah (3 May 2007). "Worst criminals of SA". iafrica.com. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 176. ISBN 0760775664.
- A&E Biography - Moses Sithole
- Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 177. ISBN 0760775664.
- "South African Strangler: Moses Sithole". Notorious. The Biography Channel. http://www.biography.com/tv/notorious/episodes/south-african-strangler.
- Newton, Michael (2000). The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 207. ISBN 0-8160-3979-8.
- Ströhm, Martin. "Graveyard". Crime Library. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- von Nekerk, Philip (2000-10). "A Time to Kill". Maxim (maximonline.com). [dead link]