South Africa

Cape Town Crime

‘Table Mountain Killer’ sentenced to two life terms for Silvermine murders

Blessing Bveni has been handed two life sentences and 30 years in prison in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.(Photo: Wikipedia)

The judge called the murders ‘targeted and cruel’, saying the killer had terrorised the Silvermine area above Fish Hoek for a year.

The man known as the Table Mountain Killer, Blessing Bveni has been sentenced to two life terms plus 33 years in prison. Judge Judith Cloete  said the 33-year-old had planned his attacks, stalked his victims and was a “cruel and cold-hearted person”.

Bveni, from Zimbabwe, had targeted mostly hikers and cyclists in the Silvermine area above Fish Hoek from October 2017 to March 2018.

The double life sentence was for the murders of Ian McPherson and Doug Notten. Bveni was sentenced to a further 33 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder and robbery of Malcolm Esterhuizen, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on David Bucklow, as well as the aggravated robbery of Megan and Damian Steel and Julia Notten.

The judge said Bveni had planned the attacks and either stalked, or preyed on his victims in remote areas, knowing they would find it difficult to call for help.

She said he looked for targets who were unlikely to be able to defend themselves, including lone cyclists, a woman and two children. 

“These factors demonstrate that he is a coward… The forensic evidence showed that both Mr Notten and Mr McPherson were subjected to brutal, frenzied attacks with the clear purpose of making sure they would not survive. Both must have died in agony,” Judge Cloete found.

Notten was murdered on 28 January 2018, while hiking with his wife Julia in the Silvermine Nature Reserve above Kalk Bay, in the Kleintuin area.

Julia Notten testified that when she saw a man walking fast towards them, she suggested to her husband that they step aside to let him pass. She said as he passed, he stabbed her husband in the back. The man then started throwing rocks at her, which is when she remembered she had a can of pepper spray in her bag. She emptied the pepper spray on him and shouted at him to leave them alone. But he dragged her husband down the pathway, stabbing him again. She ran for help. 

Notten was stabbed at least 21 times.

The attack on McPherson was also vicious. On 13 March 2018, after a cyclist sped past Steven Howells, who was jogging on the track, he came across a severely injured McPherson, who was lying on his back. Howells ran for help but by the time he returned, McPherson had already died. 

The post mortem report showed McPherson had sustained five stab wounds to the chest and back.

Esterhuizen was lucky to survive the attack on 7 February 2018. Esterhuizen, who is trained in karate and a member of the Sun Valley Neighbourhood Watch, was patrolling in the Brigantine Road area when he saw a man approaching. Esterhuizen, who was on his phone, was pushed to the ground and stabbed at least nine times with a screwdriver.

“The accused looked for targets who would be unlikely to be able to defend themselves, including lone cyclists, one of whom was elderly, a woman and two children. These factors demonstrate that he is a coward,” the judge ruled.

“The attacks on Notten, Esterhuizen and McPherson demonstrated that the accused has no respect for human life and had no concern for how his crimes might devastate the loved ones of his murdered victims. He thus appeared to be a cruel and cold-hearted individual and shows no remorse. There is every indication that the aim of the accused was to viciously attack Esterhuizen as he had previously Mr Notten and subsequently Mr McPherson, and leave him to die.”

Bveni was convicted on 3 December 2020.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the sentence, with State advocate Chris Burke saying: “I am relieved for the family and friends of the victims who will hopefully feel some solace from the fact that justice was served in this case.

“I have to commend SAPS and SanParks on the excellent investigation and quick reaction, without which a conviction and two sentences of life imprisonment would not have been possible. Lastly, as a runner myself, I am happy to have helped to make beautiful Table Mountain a safer place to be and enjoy.” DM/MC

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  • Life? Life of a butterfly? He won’t even serve 5 years. What they don’t realise is that a lot of crimes are committed because the perp knows he is better off inside. A roof over his head, 3 meals a day, tv, so what if he has to sleep on the floor?