Home world Missing Brit ‘gentle giant’ granddad, 71, found dead in South Africa as woman charged with murder and kidnapping

Missing Brit ‘gentle giant’ granddad, 71, found dead in South Africa as woman charged with murder and kidnapping

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Missing Brit ‘gentle giant’ granddad, 71, found dead in South Africa as woman charged with murder and kidnapping


A BRIT granddad who disappeared on a trip in South Africa has been found dead by police.

Jamnadas Harkant Nathvani, 71, was identified after a six-month police probe into his disappearance, with his body was found lying in grassland.

Jamnadas Harkant Nathvani, 71, disappeared in South Africa

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Jamnadas Harkant Nathvani, 71, disappeared in South Africa Credit: SACCW
The grandfather-of-two - described as a 'gentle giant' - was found dead

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The grandfather-of-two – described as a ‘gentle giant’ – was found deadCredit: SACCW

The Brit’s family raised the alarm when they did not hear from him for almost two months while he was travelling through Gauteng Province on a trip to “relive happy childhood memories”.

Known as Harry by family and friends, the “gentle giant” was born in Malawi and visited South Africa while growing up, before moving to the UK.

“It was his wish to visit [South Africa] one last time to relive happy childhood memories and create new lasting ones,” his family said in a statement, via a missing persons organisation.

Police have now charged a woman with killing the grandfather-of-two, and she will appear in court tomorrow.

Suspect Zaheera Boomgaard was arrested on October 9, has been charged with murder, kidnapping, theft and fraud, and is in custody awaiting a formal bail application.

Mr Nathvani reportedly arrived in South Africa’s Gauteng province at the end of January following a charitable trip to India.

He was last seen on February 22 when he is said to have taken a bus from Park Station in Johannesburg to Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Nathvani’s family last had contact with him on March 6, when he messaged them, but then did not hear from him again.

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Michael Venter, the chief operating officer for South Africa Community Crime Watch (SACCW) – which assists relatives of missing people in the country – said the pensioner’s family in the UK had contacted him for help.

“Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, there was very little chance for the family to come to South Africa, so it has all been done by telephone,” he said.

“They have been through so much turmoil over the past few months and we have been working very closely with them.”

A missing person’s file was recorded with the South African Police Service on May 6, but it was only last month that the pensioner’s body was formally identified from his dental records and a DNA match with family.

A missing person report was lodged with the South African Police Service

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A missing person report was lodged with the South African Police Service

Police had been holding a body found in open grassland at the morgue since March, and confirmed that the remains were those of the missing man.  

After officers informed Mr Nathvani’s family – including his daughter and sisters in the UK – of his death, his devastated loved ones asked for his funeral to be conducted in South Africa.

Unable to attend in person, the pensioner’s family entrusted Mr Venter to make arrangements, and a cremation was held on Friday, before a traditional Hindu ceremony to scatter the ashes in running water took place on Sunday.

Mr Venter worked with South African charity the 200% Foundation to arrange the funeral and last rites, which were attended by Hindu members from local temples.

It is sad that such a gentle giant would succumb to such a fate.

Family statementUK

“Harry did all he could to assist those in need,” his family said in a statement made through the SACCW organisation.

“Once a year, Harry would take a trip from the UK to India to hand out food parcels to both less fortunate children and the elderly.

“It is sad that such a gentle giant whose heart lay with all else would succumb to such a sad fate in South Africa.”

Brigadier Vish Naidoo, national police spokesperson, confirmed that Boomgaard had been arrested and is currently in police custody following a formal bail application.

A Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said: “Our staff are supporting the family of a British man following his death in South Africa, and are in contact with the local authorities.”





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