Granny-slaying serial killer gets 3 life terms

Wess Haubrich

Shaun Oosthuizen killed 3 elderly women; 1 while out on bail…

The monsters found their way in that placid Winter night.

It was a beautiful July night when she was watching TV in the Macadamia Old Age Home in Mbombela. She could never sleep when it was like this – for some reason, it made all the ambient noise of the South African night in this city of 110,000 pop to the fore in her mind. Besides, she felt an aching desire to enjoy every last moment that she could in her twilight years.

She could never sleep when it was like this. So, she flipped somewhat aimlessly on the Home’s common area TV, turning up the volume to help drown out the city’s background noise.

That’s when they came in…

85-year-old Henrietta Catharina Potgieter had no idea she would be brutally murdered that night in the home. She was not the first, nor would she be the last victim in Shaun Oosthuizen and company’s trail of death.

About a month before the Potgieter murder, Oosthuizen and accomplices strangled another elderly woman – 86-year-old Engela van Wyk – at the Rus 'n Bietjie Old Age Home in Springs, South Africa.

Oosthuizen was making his rounds through South Africa’s courts when he was tied to both those murders. He was released on his own reconnaissance and given bail in September 2018 when he robbed and strangled 74-year-old Barbara Esme Fenton in her home in Alberton, South Africa.

After being re-arrested, last week he was sentenced to three consecutive life terms plus 15 years for the first aggravated robbery (the van Wyk scene) and 20 years for the aggravated robbery at the Fenton scene.

This story should remind the reader that not all serial killers are sexual deviants a la Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer – not all serial killings are sex crimes. Some serial killers are just cold-blooded psychopaths motivated purely by material wealth.

In terms of definition, “serial killer” is never tied to motive. It is purely anyone who kills three or more people with a cooling-off period in between each kill.

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact:


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