Congolese man filmed on CCTV held for murder of Irishman in Cape Town


A Congolese national aged 24, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder and robbery on Monday in connection with the death of Irishman John Curran, 60.

Curran’s body was discovered in his Buitengracht Street apartment in Cape Town on November 7 after he had been stabbed to death. Curran was in Cape Town for work related purposes with the non-profit organisation Mellon Educate which helps governments to improve the quality of education at under-resourced schools.

After images of CCTV footage were released, it showed images taken inside an elevator and dated November 6 – police arrested Mitspa Mzakomba Onyoka in Voortrekker Road on Friday, November 23.

He was wearing boxers and sandals as he entered the dock on Monday and asked magistrate Greg Jacobs for a French interpreter as his English was not fluent enough. He was arrested whilst at his cleaning job in Voortrekker Road.

Investigating officer detective WO Shaun Bardien told the court that Onyoka needed to be taken for blood tests in order to have his DANA compared with evidence found at the scene of the murder.

The Irishman was reportedly discovered in a pool of blood by his girlfriend with only his cellphone missing.

Mellon Educate said in a media statement that Curran had just completed his contract as director of education in South Africa and that he was staying on for “a number of weeks” on vacation.

The organisation’s CEO Niall Mellon said they would assist his family and expressed gratitude to everyone who had sent “warm wishes” and “empathy”.

“I know our many volunteers and supporters will be very sad to hear this tragic news. John was much loved by everyone who met him and especially by the thousands of children he helped during his time with Mellon Educate,” said Mellon.

The suspect is expected to make a formal bail application on December 3.


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