Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Lizel Steenkamp

Dad challenges massacre killer

Cape Town — "It's not because he was gay. The murders were a message to someone who had some or other connection to that whorehouse."

Len Reade (49) pulled no punches on Tuesday when he talked about the life of his youngest child.

"He was a male prostitute and used drugs. I last saw him in November. He turned 20 on January 1, but I couldn't get hold of him. A message on his phone said he was so high that he wouldn't even know you phoned."

Travis Reade was one of eight young employees of the gay massage parlour, Sizzlers, in Cape Town, who was murdered in the early hours of Monday morning.

His father, who was in Johannesburg on business, said he heard about the massacre in Sea Point at seven o'clock on Monday morning.

"When I saw the news item on television, I knew immediately. I phoned the police and asked my sister to go and identify the body.

"I heard they had stuffed socks in my son's mouth and stuck tape over it. He was then forced to lie on his stomach and was shot in the back of the head.

"His head was picked up and his throat was slit," said a bitter Reade said from a friend's house in Kempton Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Challenges the killer

"Travis did not die because he was gay. It's all about dirty money, gambling and drugs. Someone ordered the murders.

"I hope he (the killer) does not sleep at night. I challenge the murderer to come and look me in the eye."

Reade said three men attacked his son on the streets of Sea Point in the early hours of the morning last week and he had to be treated in hospital. He believes the assault was connected to the gruesome murders.

Reade does not know how long his son had worked at the massage parlour in Sea Point. "He always lied. With all the lies, I was never sure when it started.

Link to Fast Guns 'speculation'

"He worked under the name Maximilian. I told him that he should quit, I would help him to get out.

"He didn't want to stop because of the 'big money' he earned. He always wore new clothes and had a R3 000 pair of leather boots."

One of the four white suspects wanted in connection with the murder has a tattoo of the Fast Guns gang on his right arm.

Superintendent Chris Wilken said the notorious gang was active in Westbury, Bosmont and Newclare in Johannesburg.

"None of the units in Johannesburg have been asked to assist in the investigation. The allegation that the Fast Guns from Westbury were involved in the murders is only speculation at the moment."

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Created: January 24, 2003
Last modified: January 24, 2003
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