Saturday, August 13, 2016

Charmaine Phillips, Serial Killer – South Africa, 1983

Peter Louis David Grundlingh, 35, became known as the South African Bonnie and Clyde. When Charmaine, who was married to a man whose whereabouts was unknown to her, met her partner in crime she was a prostitute. She came from a violent family, her mother having been murdered by her father. “Charmaine had lived in Durban, Germiston and Johannesburg. Her friends remembered her as a rebel who would do anything for attention. Those who grew up with her said she never really stood a chance.”

They began their career as a serial killer couple in June 1983. By the time they were captured in a massive manhunt they had committed four murders. Though Grundleigh confessed to all four murders, it seems that Charmaine was not above pulling the trigger herself.

On June 19, 1983, Chamaine shot to death Vernon Alexander Swart, 28, “because she was angry that he urinated in front of her.” The pair tied their victim to a tree before killing him. This was their second victim in the series of murder that lasted for sixteen days. All the victims were male.

They were caught, tried and convicted. Grundlingh was hanged and Charmaine Phillips was sentenced to life in prison. On Aug. 20, 2004 she was paroled. [R St. E.]

Remembering SA's own 'Bonny and Clyde',” IOL (South Africa), Aug. 5,  2004]

Jun. 14, 1983 – Gerald Meyer, 34, was shot dead at Umhloti in what was then Natal. His body was found on a dusty road near Verulam.
Jun. 19, 1983 – Vernon Alexander Swart, 28, was tied to a tree next to the Melmouth Vryheid Road and shot dead.
Jun. 26, 1983 – the body of Barend Eugene Greyvenstein, 31, of Ermelo was found at the roadside at the Kinross Dam, shot dead.
Jun. 30, 1983 – Martin Mofosi was found shot dead near Bloemfontein.
Jul. 1983 – a nationwide manhunt was launched for Grundlingh and Phillips.
Oct. 1983 – he confessed to having killed all four men.
Jul. 30, 1985 – Grundlingh was hanged.
Aug. 19, 2004 – Charmaine Phillips paroled.



Documentary film

Charmaine’s Story
1996 South Africa 26 min BETA
Dir: Sara Blecher

June 1983. Four seemingly random murders occur across South Africa. Police eventually find evidence which links all four to a renegade couple, Charmaine Phillips and Peter Grundlingh, who are on a road run across the country with their baby. NYU film graduate Blecher has constructed a part murder mystery, part ‘dear diary’ account of South Africa’s very own Bonny and Clyde murderers.

Charmaine’s Story documents the four murders, using news broadcasts, detective photographs and interviews with Charmaine’s family, friends of the couple and their investigating officer. This story of violence, obsession, and dysfunctional relationships that captured the fascination of the South African public is narrated by Charmaine herself. The twist in the tale reminds us that fact will always remain more extraordinary than fiction.




Links to more Serial Killer Couples


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