Home South African SA fugitive back from Brazil to face murder charge 9 years later

SA fugitive back from Brazil to face murder charge 9 years later

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Four days before the start of his murder trial in May 2013 for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend to death, he fled the country using false travel documentation.

Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren. File picture.

AFTER evading trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend nine years ago, the wheels of justice have finally caught up with a South African man who has been based in Brazil.

Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, 39, was due to face trial in 2013 after he allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Venter, 25, to death in December 2011. The incident happened outside the Venters’ residential complex in Joburg.

After a failed suicide attempt at the scene of the crime, Van Vuuren was arrested and charged with the murder of Venter in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. He was granted bail in the High Court in Johannesburg despite the police twice opposing his release.

However, four days before the start of his murder trial in May 2013, he fled the country using false travel documentation. A warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol Pretoria, followed by the process to track him down.

He was arrested by Brazilian authorities in August 2013 on a charge of false documentation. However, he was again released in 2015 after serving a sentence for that crime.

Undeterred for years, Interpol Pretoria remained in contact with Brazilian authorities to locate him.

This finally paid off when he was rearrested in June through the investigating team’s collaborative efforts. They were able to identify his address in Brazil. Van Vuuren had been kept in police custody at a public prison in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, since his arrest.

He arrived back in the country on Friday to face the crime he allegedly committed a little less than a decade ago.

“This is a culmination of hard work and the relentless efforts of the Investigative Psychology Section within the SAPS, Interpol Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority and Brazilian police,” said SAPS national commissioner General Khehla Sitole.

“We are grateful to the team which didn’t give up after years of hard work to bring closure to the family and friends of the deceased.”