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Missing phone key in hunt for John's Cape Town killer


John Curran

John Curran

A book of condolence at Good Shepherd Primary School, Churchtown, where John Curran used to be principal. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

A book of condolence at Good Shepherd Primary School, Churchtown, where John Curran used to be principal. Photo: Douglas O'Connor


John Curran

Detectives are trying to remotely access information on the missing phone of Irishman John Curran to establish if his killer contacted him.

A murder investigation has been launched into the 60-year-old charity worker's death in South Africa.

The retired school principal was discovered with multiple stab wounds at his flat in Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, at 10.30am on Wednesday.

The Herald has learned that detectives are attempting to remotely access information on Mr Curran's mobile, which has not been found.


The device, which was bought only hours before his death, was the only item taken from his home, leading police to believe he was murdered in a robbery for the phone.

Police Captain Ezra October said examinations will help determine if he was contacted by his killer before he was murdered and help identify a perpetrator.

It has also emerged that a bloodstained knife used in the killing was discovered at the scene. Fingerprints from the weapon were recovered.

CCTV footage of a man fleeing the apartment complex is a main factor of the investigation.

However, Capt October did not confirm if a chief suspect has been formally identified.

A post-mortem on Mr Curran's body due yesterday has been postponed until Monday because of capacity issues at the city morgue.

While local police believe he died from multiple stab wounds, they want to determine if he suffered other injuries during the attack.

His body was identified by a colleague on Thursday.

It is believed Mr Curran had been staying in Cape Town while on holiday in recent weeks.

He had completed his contract with the South African-based non-profit organisation Mellon Educate.

The charity, with which Mr Curran worked for two years, paid tribute to the "much loved" Dubliner.

In a statement, the charity said: "With great sadness, we learned that our dear colleague and friend, John Curran, was killed during a robbery in his apartment in Cape Town, South Africa.

"John only recently completed a two-year contract as director of education for Mellon Educate in South Africa and was staying on vacation in Cape Town for a number of weeks."


Chief executive Niall Mellon expressed sadness at the murder and said the charity is helping Mr Curran's family.

"I know our many volunteers and supporters will be very sad to hear this tragic news," he said.

"John was much loved by everyone who met him and especially by the thousands of children he helped during his time with Mellon Educate.

"We are assisting his family in every way we can."

Mr Curran's son, Eoin, died in a sailing accident in New York in 2010.

He is survived by his wife Liz, their children Darragh, Triona and Donal, six grandchildren and two sisters.

Before moving to South Africa, Mr Curran was heavily involved with the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN), which described him as "a highly esteemed colleague and friend".