Suspect in Kelly Bain murder arrested
Alleged killer of young mother facing trial for string of other cases
A man described as a habitual criminal who has been in trouble with the law since he was 10 – and managed to escape from a police station in 2018 – has been arrested for the brutal murder of young Port Elizabeth mother Kelly Bain.
Sizwe Jika, 27, was arrested in St Albans Prison, where he was found facing trial for several other cases.
The huge breakthrough comes after a six-month investigation, with forensic evidence eventually linking Jika to Bain’s murder and several other crimes across Nelson Mandela Bay.
Bain, 26, was on maternity leave at her Brymore home with her one-month-old baby when the killer struck on July 25 2018, stabbing her in the neck in front of the newborn during a botched robbery.
The domestic worker, who was busy in the bathroom and heard Bain’s screams, found when she tried to go out that she had been locked inside.
Bain’s fiance, Christopher Bonus, arrived at their Shabani Road townhouse moments later and grappled in the bedroom with the assailant, who managed to break free and escape over the boundary wall.
Bain’s father, Roy, said on Sunday night he was aware of the arrest but would prefer not to comment at this stage.
He did say, however, that he would be present when the suspect appeared in court.
In total, Jika now has 10 pending cases – allegedly committed between March and July 2018 – including two murders linked with two robberies, and eight burglaries.
Jika, who escaped from the Walmer police station five months ago before being rearrested, has been described by police as a habitual criminal who had been committing crimes since the age of 10.
His jail rap sheet shows that he has been arrested more than 30 times for various crimes, mostly in the Bay, of which 10 cases were withdrawn over the years.
Jika, who is in St Albans for a string of other pending cases including another murder, was arrested on Sunday for the killing of Bain.
Police said forensic evidence found in Bain’s house allegedly connected Jika to her murder.
Jika is in jail facing trial for the killing of Ann Smit, 86, who was beaten with a hammer in her Martha Street home in Kamma Park on May 28 2018.
Smit and Bain’s houses were less than 4km apart, although in different suburbs.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the breakthrough had come after police waited months for the bloodwork and DNA evidence found in Bain’s house to be returned from the laboratory in Cape Town.
Naidu confirmed that Jika had been linked to the Bain murder and would be charged in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Monday, when he appears for eight cases.
Jika was arrested on September 21 for Smit’s murder, but escaped from the Walmer police station hours later.
However, police had already taken his fingerprints.
He was rearrested in Aliwal North in October.
Naidu said Jika had been held at St Albans since and detectives had managed to link him to eight other crimes in the policing areas of Walmer, Mount Road, Humewood and Kabega Park.
“Detectives are still trying to link him to more open cases,” she said.
“It takes time as many of these cases are linked via forensic evidence, while some are based on witnesses.”
Insiders said Jika’s crime spree had started when he was about 10, with his first conviction a few years later.
“He was first convicted in 2007 for burglary.
“Since then, he has been in and out of prison,” one official said.
“In total, he has 12 convictions – mostly for burglary and theft. The latest conviction was in 2015.
“The area this guy operated in was everywhere.
“There are cases in several suburbs across the entire Bay.
“It appears that he would move from suburb to suburb to operate undetected.”
Naidu said another charge of escaping from custody was also pending.
Over and above this, 10 cases had been withdrawn against Jika over the years and he had been found not guilty in three others.
“He has been arrested and charged for more than 30 crimes since the age of about 10, including the current crimes,” the insider said.
“Some of the cases were withdrawn for various reasons by the court,” the official said.
Correctional services department spokesperson Vuyo Gadu confirmed Jika was in the St Albans Medium Remand Centre, but was unable to say when he had been released after his 2015 conviction.
Gadu said a preliminary probe showed that Jika had used several aliases during his previous arrests.
“We will be looking into this so that we can determine when exactly he was released,” she said.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga said they were working to possibly link Jika to other cold cases across the Bay.
“We have thus far achieved excellent results by [allegedly] linking the suspect to many serious and violent cases committed in the Nelson Mandela metro,” she said.
The Eastern Cape division acting director of public prosecutions, advocate Indra Goberdan, said the case was likely to be sent to the high court.
“It is likely that it will go to the high court – however, we will need to look at the cases,” she said.
“Based on the nature of the crimes and sheer volume, it is very possible the trial will go to the high court.”