Three women killed, possibly raped, in Motherwell

File picture.
File picture.
Image: Gareth Wilson

Police have launched a probe into three separate rape and murder cases in the Motherwell area over the past eight months.

This comes amid speculation and online media reports of a possible serial killer on the loose, claims that police have refuted.

Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said the common denominator in all the cases is that the women had possibly been raped and then killed.

“In all the cases the cause of death vary as well as the circumstances of the incidents.

“At this stage there is nothing to suggest that the crimes were even committed by the same person,” she said.

News of the probe comes after the police appealed for information on the cases this week.

The latest victim was found on Sunday and had been dead for about two weeks.

“At the time of the discovery, her body was partially decomposed and unidentifiable.

“The find was made in the bushy area near Addo Road in the Ramaphosa area when a resident stumble onto the body after smelling a strong stench emanating from the bushes,” she said.

Naidu said it appeared that the woman had been raped as she was partially clothed.

“At this stage the cause of death is unknown as the state of decomposition was already in the advanced stages. We are awaiting the coroner’s report,” she said.

“No identification or belongings were found on the woman.”

The body was found about 1km from where the body of Nosiphele Mpi, 21, was discovered on May 4.

Naidu said Mpi died from blunt force trauma to the head and her body was also located in the bushes along Addo Road.

“On the evening of May 2 the victim was at a tavern in NU10 with family members. She remained behind when her family left. She then spent the night with boyfriend at his house.

“The following day at about 11am he was walking her home when she met a woman that she acquainted in the tavern the previous night,” she said.

“Her (Mpi’s) boyfriend left her with the woman and he went on his way. Her badly bruised and semi-naked body was found on May 4.”

According to police, nothing appeared to be stolen.

On February 16, the semi-naked body of Lindelwa Dlepu, 43, was found less than 500m from the house she was at in Ngcungcu Street, Motherwell.

The coroner’s report revealed that Dlepu had been stabbed several times in the neck.

“It is alleged that on February 15, at about 8pm, the woman (Dlepu) was assisting a friend to babysit at the house.

“At about 5am the following day she left the house. Her (Dlepu) semi-naked body was found three hours later in the field,” Naidu said.

The cases have not been linked.

“We are awaiting forensic results from the scene to assist with ascertaining if they are linked.

“At this stage the only real link is the close proximity of the bodies in the bushes near the Addo Road and the possibility that all the victims were raped.

“Once we get the evidence back we should be able to give more information.”

Police are continuing to appeal to residents to assist them in locating the culprits.

Anyone who can assist with any information relating to the murders or a possible suspect is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Elton Tau on 082-303-0432.

“In the interim we want to again warn women to be extra cautious and not to walk alone at night or engage in conversations with strangers, specifically in secluded areas.”

No timeline could be given as to when the forensic results would be concluded.