Sipho Agmatir Thwala

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Banned
Sipho Agmatir Thwala



A.K.A.: "The Phoenix Strangler" - "Canefield Killer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Promise of employment as domestic servants in hotels
Number of victims: 16 +
Date of murders:1996 - 1997
Date of arrest: August 14, 1997
Date of birth: 1968
Victims profile: Women aged between 20 and 30 years
Method of murder: Strangulation with their underwear
Location: Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
Status: Sentenced to 506 years in prison on March 29, 1999


The killer apparently lured his victims to the sugarcane fields fields of Mount Edgecombe, near Phoenix. On March 31, 1999, a Dunbar judge found him guilty of 16 slayings, one charge of attempted murder, seven of indecent assault and three of rape. He raped then strangled his victims with their underwear before burying them in shallow graves.



Sipho Mandla Agmatir Thwala (born 1968) is a South African rapist and serial killer who was convicted in 1999 for the murders of 16 women and 10 rapes and was sentenced to 506 years in prison. Thwala was known by the moniker "The Phoenix Strangler".

Thwala, born and raised in KwaMashu, began his year-long rape and murder spree in 1996 in KwaZulu-Natal province. His modus operandi was to lure local women into accompanying him through sugarcane fields of Mount Edgecombe near the town of Phoenix, South Africa with the promise of employment as domestic servants in hotels.

Once the couple were deep within the cane fields, Thwala would attack the women, bind them with their own undergarmets, rape, strangle and bludgeon them. Afterwards, he would set fire to the cane fields in hopes of destroying any physical evidence of his attack.

Sipho Thwala was arrested in 1997 after South African police matched DNA found on the victims to DNA taken from Thwala in 1994 when he was arrested and acquitted of a rape.

On March 31, 1999, the Durban, South Africa High Court found Sipho Thwala guilty of 16 murders and 10 rapes, and sentenced to 506 years in prison.

Sipho Agmatir Thwala (19)

South Africa's alleged "Phoenix Strangler," Sipho Agmatir Thwala, is suspected of raping and strangling 19 victims with their underwear before burying them in shallow graves. On March 31, 1999, the Durban High Court found Thwala guilty of only 16 murders and 10 rapes, and he was sentenced to 506 years in prison.

Thwala, 31, of KwaMashu, became the most wanted man in KwaZulu-Natal province, located in eastern South Africa along the Indian Ocean during an alleged year-long reign of terror. At the time of his murderous spree - between 1996 and 1997 - the Phoenix and KwaMashu communities were gripped with terror, not knowing who would be next or when he would strike again.

Thwala, who was acquitted of rape and murder in 1994, was arrested for the serial killings at his Besters squatter camp home in a pre-dawn swoop by police in August 1997. His arrest came days after DNA samples taken from the suspect, who was released on the rape and murder charges in 1994, matched those taken from several crime scenes.

The killer apparently lured his victims to the sugarcane fields fields of Mount Edgecombe, near Phoenix, by offering them employment. Thwala fitted the profile compiled by police forensic psychologist Micky Pistorius, who described him as "intelligent and charming to women, but extremely dangerous". Thwala speaks English, Afrikaans and Zulu and grew up as a labourer in the cane fields where he sold cane to local residents.

His mother, Khathazile Ntanzi, described Twala as an intelligent man who could read and write even though he never received schooling beyond Grade 1. "He was a normal child, a gentleman and helpful around the house. He also bought us groceries when he had money. We are relieved he has been sent to jail. Who knows? He may have turned against us one day," said his sister, Zibekile.

On March 31, 1999, a Dunbar judge sentenced Twala to 506 years in prison after he was found guilty of 16 slayings and other charges. Twala, 31, showed no remorse for his crimes. He was also found guilty of one charge of attempted murder, seven of indecent assault and three of rape.

Shortly before his sentencing, a rumour spread around Inanda that Thwala had been seen at his family's home. An angry mob converged on the house, setting it alight after locking his mother, Khathazile 65, and his sister Zibekile, 41, inside as they prepared to go to church. A neighbour came to their rescue, dragging them from the blazing dwelling. Fearing for their lives, the family fled to the police station with Zibekile's six-month-old son, Mthandeni, and her daughters Fikile, 2, Ntombizakhona, 7, and Phumelele, 8.

Both Thwala's mother and sister said that they believed he "got what was coming to him" when Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner imposed the 506-year sentence on him. At the time of his reign of terror, neither Thwala's mother nor his sister suspected that he was the killer. "He never changed his behaviour. He would even occasionally condemn the killings and said he hoped the killer would be caught soon," said his mother.



The Phoenix Strangler


Sipho Agmatir Thwala was South Africa's Phoenix Strangler. Although he only operated for the relatively short period of a year from 1996 to 1997 he was to make it a terrifying year for KwaZulu-Natal province and rapidly became the most wanted man in the region.

His MO was straightforward – he would lure women to sugar cane fields with the promise of work before raping and strangling them with their own underwear, then bury them in shallow graves.

Thwala appeared normal around his family and was above average intelligence. A police profile described him as "intelligent and charming to women, but extremely dangerous".

He was arrested in 1997 after police matched DNA found on the victims to DNA taken from Thwala several years earlier when he was arrested for rape, though he was later acquitted of those charges.

On 31 March 1999, Thwala was found guilty of 16 murders and 10 rapes, and sentenced to 506 years in prison. In testament to the strength of local feeling about the murders, Thwala’s house was burned down by an angry mob who had received a false tip-off that he was there. His mother and sister were locked inside at the time and only just managed to escape with the help of a friend.

Trial To Start For South African SK

Grisly details to emerge in Phoenix Strangler case

Accused faces 16 counts of murder and 17 counts of rape

RONNIE GOVENDER

The trial of South Africa's alleged can field serial killer, who raped and strangled 19 victims with their underwear before burying them in shallow graves, is set to get under way in the Durban High Court next week.

Dubbed the "Phoenix Strangler", Sipho Agmatir Thwala, 31, of KwaMashu, became the most wanted man in KwaZulu-Natal during an alleged year-long reign of terror in the rolling sugar cane fields of Mount Edgecombe, near Phoenix.

The trial, expected to run for more than a month, will see more than 100 witnesses testifying. One key witness however, Thandi Conelia Majola, 30, who came face to face with the killer, has disappeared.

She is being sought by Superintendent Philip Veldhuizen, of the Durban police's murder and robbery unit, after moving house without leaving a forwarding address.

Majola, a dressmaker from the informal Bhambai settlement outside KwaMashu, was allegedly attacked by Thwala on March 15, 1996, while she was walking on the North Coast Road.

He allegedly promised her employment, as he did with most of his victims, and asked her to accompany him.

But, while walking near a sugar cane plantation, he allegedly forced her into the field and tried to throttle her.

She managed to escape after "reasoning" with him, according to investigators.

Thwala, who was acquitted of rape and murder in 1994, was arrested for the serial killings at his Besters squatter camp home in a pre-dawn swoop by police in August 1997 .

His arrest came days after DNA samples taken from the suspect, who was released on the rape and murder charges in 1994, matched those taken from crime scenes of the serial killer.

Thwala is facing 16 counts of murder, 17 counts of rape and one count of attempted murder after being found mentally fit to stand.

The killer apparently lured his victims into the killing fields by offering them employment.

Thwala fitted the profile compiled by police forensic psychologist Micky Pistorius, who described him as "intelligent and charming to women, but extremely dangerous".

"The main reason a person becomes a serial killer lies within the individual himself," Dr Pistorius said shortly before Thwala's arrest.

"He generally has a fixation during his early childhood years. The worrying thing is that he will kill until he gets caught," she said.

Nine of the serial killer's victims have yet to be identified.

Thwala speaks English, Afrikaans and Zulu and grew up as a labourer in the cane fields where he sold cane to local residents.

Sipho Agmatir Thwala

February 29, 1999

The trial of South Africa's alleged "Phoenix Strangler", who is suspected of raping and strangling 19 victims with their underwear before burying them in shallow graves, is set to get under way in the Durban High Court. Sipho Agmatir Thwala, 31, of KwaMashu, became the most wanted man in the KwaZulu-Natal region during an alleged year-long reign of terror around the sugar cane fields of Mount Edgecombe, near Phoenix.

Sipho Agmatir Twala

March 31, 1999

A Dunbar judge sentenced convicted serial killer Sipho Agmatir Twala to 506 years in prison after he was found guilty of 16 slayings and other charges. Twala, 31, showed no remorse for his crimes. He was also found guilty of one charge of attempted murder, seven of indecent assault and three of rape.

Serial killer gets 506 years

March 31, 1999

PHOENIX serial killer Sipho Agmatir Twala (31) was sentenced on Wednesday to 506 years in prison after he was found guilty on 27 charges of murder, attempted murder, indecent assault and rape.

Twala was found guilty on 16 murder charges, one of attempted murder, seven of indecent assault and three of rape. In handing down sentence Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner said it was evident Twala had shown no remorse for his actions. Judge Niles-Duner said photographs of victims and evidence led during the trial showed that the attacks were brutal and the lengthy sentence will prevent parole.

Sipho Agmatir Thwala

April 10, 1999

Six relatives of South Africa's Phoenix serial killer are living in fear at a police station after members of their community burnt down their house and threatened to kill them. The mother, sister, three nieces and nephew of serial killer Sipho Agmatir Thwala said they are too scared to venture out of KwaMashu police station in Durban, where they have been holed up for the last two weeks.
 
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