Stephanus Swart

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Stephanus Andries Johannes Swart
Born 1890
Died 6 May 1927
Cause of death Suicide
Occupation Farmer
Spouse(s) Annie Swart (née Eksteen)
Date 6 May 1927
Location(s) Potters Hill and Charlestown, South Africa
Target(s) Police and Annie Swart (wife)
Killed 8
Injured 3

Stephanus Andries Johannes Swart (1890 – 6 May 1927) was a South African farmer and spree killer who killed at least 8 people and wounded 3 others in Charlestown, South Africa on 6 May 1927, before killing himself.

Police pursued Swart one day after he fired a shot at his neighbour, Mr Lourens, on 3 May 1927 for no apparent reason. At some point Swart told another man to write down Swart's 28-page suicide statement after setting his own car on fire and hiking 10 miles to his farm house.

Swart was confronted by a police constable in the early hours of 6 May at his home with a warrant for Swart to give himself up. Swart replied that he simply wanted an oak coffin and wanted it to be zinc-lined, and he would shoot anyone who came through the road running near his property after 6:00 pm. The alarmed constable immediately started to gather a posse of a dozen policemen to arrest Swart the next day.

Swart killed five officers and wounded another near his farm, taking one's revolver and horse. He went to a nearby house to tell his neighbour that he intended to go into Charlestown to kill three more people before going to Volkrust to kill himself. The neighbour departed to warn police of Swart's coming. His neighbour, Swanepoel, when nearing Mount Prospect, was approached by a black person with a note from Swart saying he would return to kill him after he completed his "mission". By now Swart had killed two more people on the road, who had testified against him in a previous crime (incest) for which he had been convicted and sentenced to several months in prison.

Swart arrived in Charlestown across from the train station at a house where his estranged wife was living. Swart gunned down his wife, then rode his stolen horse to the edge of town and fired at a passing automobile, wounding the driver and a passenger. At this point police all over the district had been notified and had formed a posse of local farmers along with police to hunt him down. Swart was spotted diving into a ditch after an officer fired at him. A final shot was heard, as Swart killed himself with the stolen Webley Revolver.



  • Captain Gerald C. Ashman
  • Constable William Crossman
  • Sergeant Grove
  • Sergeant William Charles Mitchell
  • Sergeant Annes van Wyk

Witnesses at previous trial[edit]

  • Fannie Knight and G. Roets[1]

Estranged wife[edit]

  • Annie Swart


External links[edit]