Killer of John Curran in Cape Town to receive 18 years in plea deal

Congolese national was due to go on trial in June for murder of Irish aid worker in 2018

John Curran had just finished working for an  educational NGO in Cape Town, South Africa when he was killed

John Curran had just finished working for an educational NGO in Cape Town, South Africa when he was killed


A man who killed Irish aid worker John Curran in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018 is expected to receive a lengthy jail sentence when he makes his next court appearance on Tuesday.

Mitspa Oyoka, a Congolese national, has reportedly entered into a plea agreement with the state in which he admits using “excessive violence” and acting out of “greed” when he stabbed Mr Curran to death at his Cape Town apartment on November 6th, 2018.

Under the terms of the plea bargain Mr Oyoka agreed to earlier this month, he will serve an 18-year jail term for murdering Mr Curran.

Postmortem results showed that Mr Curran suffered 26 stab wounds to his chest, neck and head during the attack, as well as blunt force trauma to the right side of his skull. He was also strangled. Mr Oyoka had claimed during an unsuccessful bail application in 2019 that he killed the Dubliner in self-defence.


In an affidavit read out to the court during that bail hearing, Mr Oyoka said he met Mr Curran at the Fantasy Lounge in Goodwood, Cape Town, where he worked as a cleaner. He said the Irishman offered to improve his life circumstances after striking up a conversation.

The 27-year-old claimed that after knowing Mr Curran for a couple of weeks, the Irishman invited him to his apartment on Buitengracht Street. Mr Oyoka alleged that the situation got out of control after he rejected Mr Curran’s sexual advances.

Mr Curran was found dead in his apartment on November 7th, 2018 by a cleaner. Investigating officers released CCTV footage of a man leaving the complex in which Mr Curran lived shortly after his death, and Mr Oyoka was arrested within weeks.

Strong case

He was expected to go on trial for the murder of Mr Curran in June as prosecutors believed they had a strong case against the accused. But it was reported in South Africa’s Sunday Times this month that Mr Okoya had changed his story and entered into a plea agreement at the Western Cape High Court.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority confirmed to The Irish Times the existence of the plea deal and that Mr Oyoka is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Mr Curran was a former school principal who had just finished working as the director of education at Irish non-government organisation Mellon Educate in Cape Town when he was killed.

Since being denied bail, Mr Oyoka, who was in South Africa illegally according to the department of home affairs, has been incarcerated at Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town, one of the country’s most dangerous jails.