Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Ripper Rapists


Detective Nadia Swanepoel had a hunch. In fact, she was pretty sure that she knew who was responsible for the attack on Alison. She arrived at the hospital with a thick police album containing numerous black and white mug shots.

Alison was certain that she would be able to identify Frans and Theuns. After all, she had consciously stored all the details about them. However, when confronted with a sea of swimming black and white faces, the endeavor became quite daunting. Her tired mind, still reeling from trying to deal with events not even close to a day old, struggled to focus.

But she need not have worried. Among the turning pages and the mirage of photos, Frans' face stood out almost as if it were in color.

Frans du Toit
Frans du Toit

Det. Swanepoel literally did a few dance steps from excitement. "I knew it," she announced.

At around 5:00 a.m. on Monday morning, December 19, Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger were arrested. Two hours later, Det. Melvin Humpel was called in to head the investigation. He had 16 years of experience and this was going to be a high-profile case. In addition, Alison had not been the pair's first victim.

Theuns Kruger
Theuns Kruger

On the evening of February 25, 1994, a 20-year-old student was sitting in her car outside a pizza parlor in the Central district of Port Elizabeth. Frans du Toit appeared beside her much like he did with Alison, ordering her to move over while he got behind the wheel. On this occasion, however, he had a gun.

As they drove off, she began to cry, but then decided to talk about herself in the hopes that he wouldn't hurt her if he got to know her. This is a technique that hostage negotiators often employ, trying to get the captors to view their prisoners as real people. It did not work with du Toit, unfortunately, and he raped her after he parked the car somewhere in Noordhoek. She remained passive, only pleading with him not to kill her.

He didn't kill her, but drove to a road café, where he bought her a sandwich, a koeksister (a twisted pastry soaked in syrup) and a rose. du Toit talked about his sister, saying that he would kill any man who raped her.

Then he drove to a spot near the Pine Lodge holiday resort, where he raped the woman once again. He ordered her to tell him that she loved him.

Finally, he drove back to the city and left her at the Beach Hotel with the words, "You're an amazing person, and I hope I can make it up to you sometime," as she testified at the trial according to Die Burger (Oos-Kaap) of June 13, 1995.

Die Burger (Oos-Kaap)
Die Burger (Oos-Kaap)

The woman didn't say anything at first, but finally told a friend a week later. The friend convinced her to report the crime and du Toit was arrested the following month. On March 15, 1994, he appeared in the magistrates' court, where he was released on bail of R100 ($16.40).

Du Toit struck again on December 4, 1994, this time with his friend, Theuns Kruger. Their victim was a 21-year-old woman, three months pregnant. du Toit pushed a gun against her stomach. Although she told him that she was pregnant, he just told her to shut up and walk. Kruger followed. They took her to an isolated part of Central, where du Toit molested her. After Kruger raped her, du Toit ordered her to fellate him. When she gagged, he raped her. She complained that it was hurting, and she pleaded that he was injuring the baby. But du Toit only ordered her to shut up, told Kruger to push her hands down, and continued.

Afterwards, they discussed whether they would kill her or not, and finally decided to let her go. On her way home, she saw a police van, stopped the officers and told them what had happened. Both du Toit and Kruger were arrested.

On December 5 they appeared in the magistrates' court. They were released on their own recognizance, provided that they returned to court on January 5.

Less than two weeks after they left the courtroom, they abducted Alison.

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