Wednesday 12 December 2018

Man charged with murder of Irish charity worker appears in court wearing boxer shorts

John Curran
John Curran

Jamie Pyatt

A man accused of murdering Irish charity worker John Curran, who was brutally stabbed to death in his Cape Town apartment, appeared in court today dressed in boxer shorts.

Mitspa Mzakombo Onyoka (24) was arrested at his place of work on Friday.

Prosecutor Mr Adiel Jansen said that Onyoka had been charged by police with the murder of father-of-four Mr Curran as well as aggravated robbery.

Since his arrest he had been remanded in custody at Cape Town Police Station and was dressed for court in just a pair of blue and white boxer shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt.

He was granted the services of a French interpreter, as he said his English was poor, and legal aid to seek bail.

Prosecutor Mr Jansen told Cape Town Magistrates Court: “The man who is the victim here was very benevolent to Cape Town society.

“He was found murdered in his flat and quite a number of items were taken."

He requested permission from His Worship Greg Jacobs for the police to take blood samples from the accused to match it with DNA as part of the ongoing investigation.

Mr Jansen said the police were also seeking information through diplomatic channels with police in the Democratic Republic of Congo regarding any previous convictions of the accused.

Magistrate Mr Jacobs told the accused: “This is a very serious charge and he should appeal for legal aid and it is in his best interests if he needs help to make a bail application."

He was remanded in custody for 7 days until December 3.

John Curran previously lived in Churchtown, south Dublin, where he worked as a principal, before moving to South Africa to work with the Mellon Educate charity.

His task was to oversee the building of thousands of homes for underprivileged people and for the refurbishment and building of schools to educate children.

He had taken two months off to enjoy a “farewell holiday” to South Africa and had moved into a rented flat in a secure apartment complex on Buitengracht Street.

But on the morning of November 7 he was found dead after a female friend let herself into his flat and found his body on the floor behind the door.

Mr Curran was due to fly back to his native Dublin later this year.

He was stabbed multiple times to the head and chest and is thought to have died in the early hours of the morning.

After gaining a degree at Trinity College he devoted himself to teaching and had been principal of the Good Shepherd National School in Dublin for 15 years.

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