Fugitive Belgian murder suspect hands himself over to South Africa police
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Fugitive Belgian murder suspect hands himself over to South Africa police

A South African-Belgian man who was the main suspect in the 2011 murder of a girl (20) in South Africa handed himself over to the police on 15 January after being on the run for six years.

In April 2011, police discovered the lifeless body of 20-year-old Chantelle Barnard in a house in the town of Benoni in South Africa. Forensics suggested that she was tortured, stabbed several times and raped, before being killed.

Shortly after the discovery of the body, a Belgian-South African (41) man whose family owned the property in which Chantelle had been staying emerged as the main suspect. He was arrested and held in custody for eight months while awaiting trial.

After a court decision in South Africa, the man was provisionally released after bail of around 20,000R (€1,250). At the start of the trial in September 2013, the Belgian man disappeared without a trace.

In the intervening years, there was no sign of the man, despite attempts by the police to catch him. Even when Chantelle’s family hired private investigators, the South African-Belgian man could not be found. One detective believes that he spent time while on the run in Amsterdam.

After over six years of being on the run, the man handed himself into the police in Benoni, South Africa, last Wednesday, accompanied by his father and lawyer, Nieuwsblad explains.

To the great relief of Chantelle’s family, the South African-Belgian man will be tried for the crimes for which he is suspected of committing.

“The death of Chantelle has been enormously traumatic for me and for her brother Jacques (33). When I called him on Thursday, he immediately burst into tears. I am ecstatic that my daughter’s suspected murderer has been caught. I never stopped fighting, I never gave up. I had to have answers,” Chantelle’s mother, Suzette Barnard, explained to South African media.

Last Thursday, the man came before the court in Pretoria and from there was brought to Kgosi Mampuru prison.

He will appear in court on 27 March when a date will be set for his trial.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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