Top detective brought in to advise team investigation student murder-rape

The Eastern Cape’s head of detectives has been roped in to advise on the investigation into the hijacking and executionstyle murder involving two NMMU students last weekend.

Brigadier Gary McLaren, a veteran policeman and commander of all detectives in the province, arrived in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday and asked that all detectives involved in the case meet at the Mount Road police station.

Detectives were locked in meetings with McLaren until late on Wednesday night.

The team is investigating the hijacking and murder of medic and student Thabani Ngwekazi on Saturday night.

Ngwekazi was shot in the back of the head after a group of about six thugs had drawn R200 from in his bank account.

Ngwekazi, who was studying at NMMU on a bursary scheme, was a medic for the Department of Health in Mthatha.

It is alleged that during the ordeal, two of the men raped a woman, 23, who was abducted with Ngwekazi earlier in his car.

Ngwekazi’s golden VW Polo was found abandoned in Kwazakhele at about 10.30pm on Monday night.

No arrests have been made yet in the matter.

New leads have led detectives to consider whether the gang responsible is linked to a spate of robberies of police and security officials last month, in which at least nine firearms were stolen.

Police spokeswoman Priscilla Naidu said a joint team of detectives, including the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit, were involved in the investigation.

“The investigators are awaiting various forensic reports to assist with the case and maybe help identify the culprits involved,” she said. “The priority case is at a sensitive stage.”

Naidu confirmed that McLaren was in Port Elizabeth and advising the detective task team working on the case.

McLaren had been in Port Elizabeth recently for Operation Lockdown – a clampdown on gangs in the northern areas.

Mclaren made a name for himself when he assisted in investigating the killing of Jayde Panayiotou which led to her husband, Christopher Panayiotou, 29, being arrested.

Four more men were arrested in connection with the murder and are due to appear in the Port Elizabeth High Court again on August 25.

McLaren also assisted with the murder of British adventurer Jeremy Brookes, 32, who was killed in a bungled robbery during a holiday in the Transkei in 2014.

Five people were arrested within hours of his murder.

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