Double murder stuns South African Jewish community

The two in their mid-twenties were found naked, shot execution-style; Cape Town police: They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

May 1, 2006 22:29
2 minute read.
Double murder stuns South African Jewish community

south africa map 88. (photo credit: )

The South African Jewish community is still reeling in shock after the bodies of two young men were found naked, their hands tied behind their backs, shot execution-style - one bullet each at the back of the head - in Cape Town last month. Police said Brett Goldin, 27, and Richard Bloom, 26, had simply been in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They noted that the first three suspects who were arrested Sunday, April 16, hours after the two were reported missing, had been under the influence of drugs. Goldin and Bloom were both from well-established Johannesburg families. Goldin attended a prestigious local Jewish day school in Johannesburg, while Bloom had been at a state school with a high number of Jewish students. Goldin had been a rising success of television, stage and film. He acted recently in the highly rated comedy film Crazy Monkey Straight Out of Benoni and was due to leave for Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom to take part in a production of Hamlet, directed by the well-known South African-born Janet Suzman. Bloom was a textile designer. Following his death, Bloom's employer remarked that he had had an incredibly bright future ahead of him. The employer was stunned by what he called "senseless" murders. Eleven local youths were arrested for the double murders and are awaiting trial. Three have since been released. Police are tight-lipped about the case and while the motive remains unclear, the Jewish community has ruled out anti-Semitism, despite the fact that the names of the suspects who have appeared in court seem to show that they are from Cape Town's large Muslim community. Rather, it initially seemed that the two were murdered as part of a gang initiation ceremony. The fact that the victims were gay has led many to speculate that they were victims of homophobia. The murders took place in Cape Town, where the two, who were good friends, had been living for the past few years. Just hours after they had left a friend's dinner party on the night of April 15, police stopped a car that was being negligently driven. Inside were three youths under the influence of drugs, who were members of one of the city's notorious Muslim gangs. After finding Goldin's credit card and 1,400 rands in cash ($300) in the car, police took the three in for questioning. Police were later directed to the spot where the bodies lay. Subsequent investigations led to the arrest of another eight people, all of whom have been remanded to Pollsmoor Prison. Those arrested are also alleged to be involved in drug dealing at Cape Town night spots, which has led to insinuations that the two were involved in a drug deal. This charge has been denied. The trial is expected to continue on Wednesday. There were reports that a memorial service had been moved from Cape Town's Green and Sea Point Hebrew Congregation because the rabbi had refused permission due to the fact that the two victims were gay. Rabbi Aharon Hayon denied this allegation, and after meeting with friends of the deceased, the official word was that there had been a misunderstanding. Nonetheless, the memorial service took place at a different venue. The Johannesburg Jewish cemetery witnessed two of its largest funerals ever last week. Bloom's twin brother, who had emigrated to Australia just two weeks earlier, was back for the funeral, as were mourners from many countries. Cape Town, considered to be South Africa's gay capital, is not new to gay-bashing. A few years ago, the public was shocked by the wanton brutality of a massacre that took place at a gay male massage parlour in the city.

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