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Man charged with robberies also linked to elderly woman's murder

Image: 123RF/ scanrail

The man who had been connected to several other crimes while in prison has also been tied to the murder of an elderly woman five years ago.

According to police, the 29-year-old man, who is not yet being named as detectives must still conduct an identity parade, has being tied to the murder of Hazel Huggins, 85, in 2014.

The man was charged for Huggins's murder in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday afternoon, together with seven other cases – including five house robberies – committed between 2013 and 2018.

Huggins, whose body was found on the morning of March 28 2014 inside her home in Kruger Gardens in Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, was suffocated during a house robbery.

The complex is owned by the Echo Foundation.

Huggins was found by a nurse who went to investigate why she had failed to appear for an appointment.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the breakthrough had come during an intense investigation into the accused.

"As part of the probe, a court order was made for the identity of the accused not to be released pending the completion of the investigation."

"Since last year detectives have been following up on information that ties the accused to the Huggins murder."

Naidu said that an informer network was activated, which led to the accused being implicated.

The man, who is serving two years behind bars after being arrested in 2018, is being detained in the North End prison.

According to police, all the cases were in the Summerstrand and Lorraine area."While in custody, police were awaiting forensic evidence results that had been gathered at several other crime scenes," Naidu said.

"To date, we can confirm that he has been linked by DNA evidence to one house robbery in Lorraine and four house robberies in Summerstand.

"In addition he was connected to a burglary and theft out of motor vehicle, also in Summerstrand."

Naidu said that Detective Constable Ridwaan Baatjies was also following up other leads to ascertain if he is linked to any other crimes.

The man is due to appear in the same court on July 31 for the spate of house robberies, burglary, theft out of a motor vehicle and murder.

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