WATCH | Catching the ‘Table Mountain killer’: How a ranger tracked the kind-eyed ‘killing machine’

The double-murder trial of the alleged “Table Mountain killer” is set to resume next Monday in the Cape Town high court.

Thirty-five-year-old Zimbabwean national Blessing Bveni is accused of attacking 10 hikers and murdering two men in the Table Mountain National Park during a spell of vicious attacks in the early part of 2018.

Fifty-year-old pilot Doug Notten was stabbed to death by a “kind-eyed” killer on February 20 2018 while he was walking on a mountain path near Fish Hoek. His wife, Julia, who was with him at the time, escaped unharmed.

“When he approached us, I thought he was a good-looking man. He had beautiful, kind eyes. But when he pulled out a knife, his eyes turned into slits and his whole face turned to anger and he just started stabbing Doug, repeatedly,” said Julia.

An identikit was released by SAPS of the attached who was plaguing the Table Mountain National Park in 2018. (Photo by: SAPS)

A few weeks later in March 2018, cyclist Ian McPherson was stabbed to death a few hundred metres from where Notten was killed. McPherson’s new mountain bike was stolen in the incident.

A SANParks master tracker arrived on the scene and tracked the stolen bicycle’s tyre tracks over the sand dunes, leading past an infrared camera of a residential complex.

The black and white image revealed what police say was the culprit pushing a bicycle minutes after McPherson was attacked. The man was wearing a V-neck shirt.

The infrared camera at a nearby residential complex captured this image a few minutes after cyclist Ian McPherson’s murder. Police say the suspect is seen pushing the stole bicycle past the complex. (Photo by: SAPS)

McPherson’s bicycle and cellphone were tracked down to Masiphumelele, a nearby informal settlement, and when police interrogated the vendors who were selling the items, they said they bought the items from a Zimbabwean named Blessing. Police tracked down Blessing to a home in Philippi East where they arrested him.

Blessing Bveni was arrested in early 2018 after getting into a fight with another man near where the hiking attacks were happening. He was set free by police shortly after his arrest and no charges were brought against him.
Image: SAPS
Murdered pilot Doug Notten.
Image: Facebook

In the visual investigation TimesLIVE looks at how the state says Bveni operated before he was arrested and how the SANParks ranger tracked the footprints of the culprit, shining light on the suspect’s alleged vicious rule of the mountain.

The case was initially set to resume on October 5 in the Cape Town high court, however the prosecution confirmed that it would be postponed to October 12.

Murdered cyclist Ian McPherson.
Image: Ian McPherson
Sergeant Minye (right) explains how he tracked the alleged killer Blessing Bveni (centre) to the state prosecutor Chris Burke (left) in the Cape Town high court in March 2020.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux


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