‘Fugitive’ who fled to Brazil to escape murder charge brought back to SA

Police say Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren murdered his ex-girlfriend in 2011. They say he fled to Brazil days before his trial. On Friday, he is back to face the music.

Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren during a previous court appearance in 2013. The SA man will be brought back to the country to stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Andrea Venter, in 2011.
Image: eNCA / via YouTube

More than seven years after he fled SA, murder accused Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren will be back in the country to stand trial for the alleged slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

Jansen van Vuuren was arrested in Brazil in June — and come 1pm on Friday, he will be back in his homeland to face the music for the 2011 stabbing of Andrea Venter.

SAPS spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo confirmed the extradition on Thursday night.

Jansen van Vuuren stands accused of stabbing 25-year-old Venter in December 2011 outside her residential complex in Johannesburg.

“After a failed suicide attempt at the scene of crime, Jansen van Vuuren was charged with the murder of Venter before the Randburg magistrate’s court. He was later granted bail in the Johannesburg high court after the SAPS successfully opposed bail twice before the Randburg magistrate’s court,” said Naidoo.

Then, four days before he was due to stand trial in May 2013, Jansen van Vuuren fled.

He used “false travel documentation” to get out of the country, said Naidoo.

An alert was sent out through Interpol, to track and trace the fugitive.

“He was later arrested by Brazilian authorities in August 2013 on a charge of false documentation and, regrettably, released in 2015 after serving a sentence for this crime,” said Naidoo.

Again, Interpol Pretoria worked to track him down, seeking assistance from Brazilian authorities.

“In June 2020, the investigating teams’ collaborative efforts culminated with the arrest of the murder fugitive at an identified address in Brazil. He had been kept in police custody at a public prison in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since his arrest.

“After a lengthy investigation, the murder fugitive is set to be back in the country to face a crime he allegedly committed a little less than a decade ago,” said Naidoo.

SAPS management has hailed the work of the investigators.

“This is a culmination of hard work and the relentless efforts of our law enforcement officers. This is indeed victory for us as a service. Thank you to the team, who didn’t give up even after years of hard work.

“Our focus is to bring closure to the family and friends of the deceased, as well as to ensure that justice is served,” said national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole.

BY Matthew Savides

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