Man on trial for murder of cyclists

Right: A lookout bridge at the Sun Valley Wetlands in Brigantine Avenue near the place where Ian McPherson was stabbed to death.

A 35-year old Zimbabwean man charged with the murders of Ian McPherson, 68, and Doug Notten, 57, slain within weeks of each other last year, appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Monday September 2 for the start of his trial.

Blessing Bveni faces charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, robbery, attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and murder as well as two additional charges of contravening the Immigration Act, for allegedly using false documents to enter or remain in the country and/or for being in possession of a false passport.

Mr Notten, a Kalk Bay resident, was stabbed to death during a hike up Echo Valley above Boyes Drive with his wife, Julia, on January 28 while Mr McPherson, a Fish Hoek resident, was robbed of his bike and stabbed to death on March 13 while cycling near Brigantine Avenue at the Fish Hoek sports fields (“Murder on the mountain,” Echo, February 1 2018 and “Cyclist stabbed to death,” Echo, March 15, 2018).

The assault charge against Mr Bveni – which dates back to October 11, 2017 – relates to his alleged attempt to rob a cyclist near the Silvermine Bridge by kicking at his front wheel as he passed Mr Bveni.

On January 12 last year, he allegedly threatened a married couple with a knife and stole a cellphone and cash and stabbed a man with a sharp object – also near Brigantine Avenue, Sun Valley, on February 2 last year. The man’s cellphone, watch and hand radio were stolen.

The case was postponed to February 3 next year as Mr McPherson’s wife, Allyn, recently immigrated to England and will need to testify during the trial.

Mr Bveni will remain in custody until the trial resumes next year.