Alleged serial rapist files for bail

A 50-year-old man will not walk the streets as a free man again, if the community has their way.

Keith Bird, an alleged “serial rapist and murderer”, has once again applied for bail at the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court after withdrawing a motion earlier this year.

But given his history and the seriousness of the cases, Mitchell’s Plain Impact Association founder Joanie Fredericks rallied residents to picket outside the court in opposition of bail at his hearing on Thursday.

“In the case of Keith Bird, there is no indication that he is going to stop, given the fact that he was already imprisoned for rape 15 years ago. He served the time for the rape of a foreigner and then came out and is now suspected of having raped at least four women and murdering another two. It is clear he does not intend to stop. The fact he wants bail tells us he has unfinished business here on the outside. Of all the times I have seen him appear, he has shown no remorse and the only reason he would want to come out would be to finish what he started,” claims Fredericks.

Bird was arrested in August last year after he allegedly lured his victims through social media (“‘Rapist’ uses Facebook as trap”, People’s Post, 22 August).

Bird, believed to be a former pastor, appeared in court in August on two charges of murder, four charges of rape, a charge of intimidation and a charge of extortion, with police calling on more potential victims to come forward (“Former pastor seen as ‘serial rapist’”, People’s Post, 5 September).

“The suspect has in the past touted himself as a reverend. The accused – believed to be a serial rapist – is thought to have been active in the period 2013 to 2016,” Captain Ian Williams, Mitchell’s Plain police spokesperson, previously said.

The alleged serial rapist is believed to have committed crimes in a large area, from Wolfgat Nature Reserve to Mnandi Beach.

“The accused would allegedly set up a Facebook profile as a female. He would then befriend his victims and win their trust. The accused would target women from poor economic areas who would be seeking employment and would offer [them] employment for modelling jobs,” said Williams.

“He would then get the victim to come to him to take photos at a place arranged close to his house. When the victims arrived at the meeting place, the accused would offer some excuse as to why the female of the Facebook profile wasn’t there. He would then threaten the victim and rape her,” he said.

Bird was described as a well-spoken and groomed professional who was neatly shaven and dressed well.

Fredericks says Bird is playing “delaying tactics” after filing for bail and then either withdrawing or not showing up at hearings.

“It is particularly draining for the families and victims. Some of them can’t bring themselves to come here. The mother of the one victim has never attended a hearing but thought that if there was any chance that he could get bail, she would want to be here. It is clear that with him not showing up and withdrawing and filing again, he is playing games. For the victims it is painful that he does not come. They want to see him in the dock and see that the case is moving forward. I personally think he is trying to wear us down and wear the justice system down with his tactics so that he can sneak through on a day when we are not here to oppose bail,” she says.

Elizabeth Jacobs, a friend of one of his believed victims, Aniesa Bardien, who was killed in 2013, says she came to see justice served for her friend.

“When we were at court for her case in 2013 we found out he was linked to the murders of other people. I am here to stand up for her, even though it won’t bring her back. What will happen when the same person is arrested for rape and then comes back out on bail every time? When they are out on bail is when they rape the children,” says Elizabeth­.

Zainab Jacobs says she sympathises with the victims as her daughter was also recently the victim of rape and molestation.

“I have tried to get the case moving forward but nothing is coming from it. That case happened recently and he spent only one night in the cell before coming home on bail,” says Zainab.

Berenice Brink agrees that support for both victims and families is important and that is the reason she joined.

“I wanted to be a voice for the now voiceless,” says Brink.

Fredericks says they will continue to support victims and oppose bail and encourages more residents to do so and join them.

“We have seen over the last two years that a lot of the time rapists come out on bail. It does matter that the community has a say. The judges take into consideration what the public feels about it. When there is no-one at court to oppose bail then they take it as an indication that its not important.”

Bird appeared in court as scheduled. Due to his lawyer being off sick, the bail hearing was postponed to tomorrow (1 August) when he will appear via audiovisual remand.