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Mirah Wilks, on the right. Photo: Facebook

South Africa: Hate crime psychologist butchered

An Israeli-born psychologist who had focused on hate crimes was brutally murdered in South Africa in her Johannesburg home, according to police.

Published: October 12, 2019, 9:30 am

    Johannesburg

    Dr Mirah Wilks was known for her research into hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Her latest project was researching resilience as a means of adaption and survival, The Times of Israel reported.

    Wilks, 69, was killed inside her home on Sunday shortly after her husband left to go to their local synagogue, The Daily Mail reported. The armed black robbers waited on the roof of the house for Wilks’ husband to leave before they smashed through the ceiling to gain entry into the home.

    On his return, her husband found the blood soaked body of his wife of 45 years with her throat slit and stabbed multiple times in the chest and back. According to police, two laptops and a cellphone were stolen. They have launched a major manhunt in the Johannesburg area for the suspects.

    Professor Juan Nel, a colleague of Wilks, said the Psychological Society of South Africa was shocked after learning of her murder. “Dr Wilks was the victim of a violent crime that took place in her home and Mirah’s untimely death has left us with a deep sense of loss that will affect all of us here.”

    According to the Psychological Society of South Africa Wilks described herself as a childhood polio survivor and Jewish refugee who had battled cancer. Wilks was born in Israel, and moved to Australia as a child but moved to South Africa with her husband after they retired.

    Wilks qualified last year with a PhD in Hate Crimes from the University of South Africa with a special focus on South Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    Counselling psychologist Dr Ingrid Artus said: “This [murder] will perpetuate the fear that many associate with crime.”

    South African Police spokespeman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said: “A case of murder is being investigated and the post mortem will determine the exact cause of death but a sharp object was used. It was used in the fatal assault on the victim who was found by her husband when her returned home from church and we are appealing for witnesses to come forward.”

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