A Ukrainian tourist was stabbed to death for his backpack on a scenic Hout Bay trail on Saturday morning.
Ivan Ivanov, 44, was attacked about 10m from the trail exit at East Fort on Chapman’s Peak Drive around 11.30am.
During a brief struggle with his three attackers he was stabbed a number of times in the chest and bled to death on the trail, according to sources on the scene.
The attackers fled towards Hout Bay with Ivanov’s backpack. The one carrying the backpack was spotted by a civilian who alerted Hout Bay Community Police Forum (CPF).
CPF members managed to apprehend the suspect and hand him into custody, where the 25-year-old allegedly confessed to the robbery and stabbing and told cops where they would find Ivanov’s body.
His backpack, cellphone and other possessions were bagged as evidence while Hout Bay patrolmen raced to East Fort where they discovered his body.
The trail was cordoned off and hikers on the path were diverted to an alternative route.
Police established that the murder weapon was not on the scene and a senior detective, assisted by Table Mountain rangers, launched a roadside search which proved fruitless.
After a thorough crime scene investigation Ivanov’s body was carried off the trail to a mortuary van at 3.20pm.
A passing Hout Bay resident was so shocked to learn of the murder that she burst into tears.
“I didn’t know this man, but I find it devastating that he lost his life here. I walk past here all the time. Now I feel so unsafe.”
Ivanov had been staying at a Hout Bay guest house for a few days before moving on to another foreign destination which is not yet known.
His hosts had warned him not to hike the trail alone, even though CPF sources on scene said they had always regarded it as a safe, incident-free route.
Around 2pm, a Community Cohesion trauma counsellor at the crime scene telephoned Ivanov’s wife, who was in Geneva with family.
Sources say she was “deeply impacted” by the call.
Counsellor Bronwyn Moore said: “I apologised that her husband was murdered while visiting our country. I feel I owe it to the victim’s family. Whenever I do that I come close to tears due to the sadness of being a South African. Crime in South Africa is being normalised, and it never, ever should be. I take it personally that someone dies visiting our country. Although I didn’t harm the victim, I need to apologise that their loved one was murdered in our homeland.”
Late yesterday, police sources confirmed a manhunt had been launched for the two remaining suspects.
The murder and quick arrest comes a day after an alert saw CPF and law enforcement detain a man who attacked a Hout Bay resident on Rocket Road, a trail just above Sandy Bay nudist beach.