Rugby player held after three are butchered in axe killings

A former professional rugby player from South Africa has been arrested after allegedly butchering three people with an axe in revenge for the gang rape of his daughter. The 34-year-old man, who used to play for the Blue Bulls, was seized by police in an early morning raid on a house in Durban.

Local news outlets reported that three men had been killed by the rugby star because he suspected that they were behind the gang rape of his daughter who has since tested HIV positive. A further two men were attacked by the man but survived.

The killings threaten to inflame race tensions in a country where anger often boils over following high-profile killings. Another Blue Bulls player, Bees Roux, was charged last year with murdering a black police officer. His trial is set for the late summer.

Police chiefs yesterday insisted that the suspect was black and that they had ruled out any racial motives for the crimes. But the killings have nonetheless prompted reams of racial anger on message boards and internet forums. Most online forums have assumed the former player is white.

Under South African law, suspects are only named once they appear in court and the suspect is expected to appear in court today. Local newspapers reported that they were aware of the man's identity but had agreed not to disclose it until proceedings begin.

Police said they arrested the man on Tuesday morning and recovered a 40cm (16in) long axe and bloodied clothing at his house.

"When they pounced on him they found an axe, which we believe is the murder weapon, clothes with blood stains and a hired car that we suspect he could have used during the alleged attacks," said police spokesman Vincent Mdunge. "He is currently being detained."

Residents of the Yellowwood Park, Lamontville and Umbilo suburbs or Durban said three men had been murdered last week in a crime spree that had terrified the local community. At least two of the men had been decapitated by their attacker with the head of one of the victims being found more than a mile from his body. Two people have come forward claiming that they were also attacked.

Khangelani Mdluli, a resident of Lamontville, said he was attacked by a man who was driving a Peugeot. "He stopped the car, jumped out with a plastic bag and walked down the road towards me I continued walking but I looked at the plastic bag and I thought it was a gun," the 27-year-old said.

Mr Mdluli said he was then asked whether he knew the man who shouted: "You think I'm stupid? You infected my daughter with HIV".

"As the axe came down towards my head, I ducked and it scratched my stomach," he recalled. "I started running down the road while he followed me and swore at me. He eventually gave up and turned back to his car."

One of the victims was named as Paulos "Ndodo" Hlongwa, a 46-year-old security guard who worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. His headless body was found just metres from his home, with a box of fried chicken that he had bought for his family.

Messages left on rugby fan forums have revealed how deeply racial tensions run through South African society when such high profile murders occur. "Give that man a [whiskey]," wrote one supporter. "I am happy to start a fundraiser for his legal fees."

Another fan, however, countered: "Very bad news for Blue Bulls and rugby's image. Perception is another white thug killing blacks."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links