Mrs. Helen Jones suddenly upped stakes from her Hastings home in 1971 and, together with her 12-year-old daughter, left her husband to go and live in South Africa. The attraction there was a man named Peter Barber, who owned a kitchen unit factory in Durban and who she had met two years previously.
But the romance soured and in November 1973, Mrs. Jones wrote to her husband saying she wanted to come home. She and Barber were having terrible arguments, and he was beating and sexually abusing her.
A short time later Barber gave his employees a day off. When they returned next day they noticed bloodstains on the office carpet. Some of them were asked by Barber to put a covered drum into a truck. Neither Mrs. Jones nor her daughter were ever seen again, and when asked about them Barber said they had gone to New Zealand.
Five years went by then the body of Cecilia Majola, 25, was found by a roadside near Durban. She had been sexually mutilated her breasts and ears had been cut off and her vagina had been cut out. It looked at first like a ritual murder, but the local head of CID knew the girl and knew she worked for Barber.
A search of her home revealed love letters between Barber and herself, and Barber was arrested. Interrogated, he confessed to killing the girl in self-defence, and said he had tried to make it look like a tribal killing. A month later, still in custody, he confessed to murdering Helen Jones and her daughter.
We had a terrible argument, so I strangled them both with a rope, he said.
When he came to trial in late 1979 he was further charged with the murder of another black girl friend, Phillipine Ndlovu. Witnesses said the girl had been thrashed and cut in a sado-masochism session, but because her body had never been found and it could not be proved that Barber had caused her death, he was acquitted on this charge.
During the trial the prosecution suggested that Mrs. Jones and her daughter were not strangled but killed by Barber for his perverted sexual satisfaction, involving a great deal of blood. Barber was found guilty of the three murders and hanged on Thursday, December 11th, 1980, in Pretoria. Worldwide Hangings from True Crime Library.
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