Unsolved murders of the Station Strangler

In 1986, a faceless serial killer began stalking children on the Cape Flats. He became known as the Station Strangler. By 1994, 22 young boys had been found dead, sodomised and then strangled.

The following year, in 1995, Norman Simons, a schoolteacher, was convicted of the murder of ten-year-old Elroy van Rooyen, the last victim in the string of child murders. In the public imagination, he was the Station Strangler.

Twenty-seven years later, Simons remains behind bars, despite being eligible for parole. Simons was never charged with any of the other killings.  Nobody else was ever arrested. In 2010, police opened the cold case and re-investigated DNA samples taken from the crime scenes. None of the DNA found matched Simons.

Doubts have also emerged about whether he should have been convicted of Elory van Rooyen’s murder. So - if Simons isn’t the Station Strangler, who is? In this three-part series, News24 delves into the unsolved murders of the Station Strangler, and tries to piece together the puzzle of a mystery that has haunted South Africans for decades.  

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PODCAST | The unsolved murders of the Station Strangler

PART ONE: 'We just wanted money to play games': Ryno van Rooyen sure Norman Simons killed his cousin

Norman Simons, labeled the Station Strangler despite never being convicted of a string of child murders committed on the Cape Flats in the late 80s and early 90s, is eligible for parole. He maintains his innocence, despite serving 27 years for the murder of Elroy van Rooyen. This is Part 1 in a series focusing on the man accused of being a child predator who murdered 22 children in less than a decade.

PART TWO: No DNA evidence linking him to serial cases, says expert as child killer's parole looms

Had Norman Simons been tried for the murder of Elroy van Rooyen in a court today, there would've been a very good chance that he would not have been convicted.

However, this does not mean that he is innocent, according to Professor Gerard Labuschagne, the former head of the police's specialised Investigative Psychology Section. Instead, it could indicate that more than one person targeted little boys on the Cape Flats.

Labuschagne believes Simons is "being consciously/unconsciously viewed as the Station Strangler" even though he was never convicted of the string of murders committed between 1986 and 1994.

PART THREE: 'I would never have done that to them' - Norman Simons and the people who maintain his innocence

For years, Koos Louw had a hand in sending criminals to jail.

When he decided to vacate his seat as a magistrate to practice law as an advocate, one of his first clients was the man then accused of being the Station Strangler: Norman Simons.

It became a case that evolved into a crusade for Louw. He was convinced of Simons' innocence until the day he died, two decades after his client was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Elroy van Rooyen.

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