17 November 1964 |
Vosloorus, Gauteng, South Africa
|Other names||The ABC Killer
The South African Strangler
The Gauteng Killer
|Criminal penalty||2,410 years' imprisonment|
Span of killings
Moses Sithole (born 17 November 1964) is a South African serial killer and rapist 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 managing a shell organization, Youth Against Human Abuse, ostensibly devoted to the eradication of child abuse. All of his victims were females interviewing for positions with Sithole's ersatz charity. 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 then 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, sparking nationwide panic. In some cases, he would later phone the victims' families for no other apparent reason than to taunt them. At one point, President Nelson Mandela visited Boksburg in person to appeal for public assistance in apprehending the killer.
In August 1995, Sithole was identified as having been seen with one of the victims; SAPS investigators soon unraveled details of his previous rape conviction. Sithole quickly disappeared. In October 1995, he contacted South African journalist Tamsen de Beer and identified himself as the wanted murderer. During a phone conversation to de Beer, he indicated that the killings were carried out in revenge for his unjust imprisonment. He went on to claim 76 victims, twice as many as those reported. Finally in order to prove that he was the killer, he gave directions to where one of the bodies had been left. Local authorities subsequently cornered Sithole in Johannesburg and confronted him. The suspect was shot while attacking a constable with a hatchet and driven to the hospital, where 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. Moses Sithole is currently incarcerated in Manguang Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa.
- 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.
- 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 (October 2000). "A Time to Kill". Maxim (maximonline.com).[dead link]