A new car, fake warder and a body in the fridge: 7 more stories you need to read about Thabo Bester's escape
Several reports by TimesLIVE have lifted the lid on Facebook rapist Thabo Bester's daring escape, with explosive details on the hours and days before and after one of South Africa's most audacious prison breaks.
Bester was convicted of murder and two counts of rape after luring women via Facebook.
He escaped from the Mangaung maximum-security prison last year by setting his cell alight. A body was found in the room and officials announced Bester's death at the time. However, he was later reportedly spotted living in the lap of luxury.
After days of speculation, the correctional services department confirmed Bester's escape over the weekend.
The days since that confirmation have seen explosive details of his escape revealed.
Following on from our first part where we delved into Bester and the aftermath of his escape, here are seven more stories you need to read about the debacle:
HOW TO SMUGGLE A BODY INTO PRISON
TimesLIVE Investigations reported on Thursday how Bester allegedly walked out of the prison dressed as a warder.
The plan was apparently hatched well in advance with the help of prison officials.
It detailed how the body used in the cover-up was allegedly hidden inside a large bag used to transport food for inmates. It was then stored in the prison's kitchen fridge before being transported into the cell in a wheelchair.
It was reportedly set alight in the early hours of the morning and while attention was on the fire, Bester apparently walked out the prison disguised as a prison warder.
THREE FIRED AFTER THE INCIDENT
The private contractor running the prison, G4S, said on Tuesday it had dismissed three of its employees over the escape. It had maintained that Bester had died in the fire.
“Three employees at MCC were suspended shortly after the incident. These employees were subsequently dismissed in September 2022, December 2022 and January 2023 respectively for matters relating to their conduct on the evening of May 3 2022,” G4S said in a statement.
It added it was co-operating with authorities and awaiting the outcome of the police investigation into the escape.
ONE OF THOSE SACKED BOASTED ABOUT BUYING A CAR BEFORE THE ESCAPE
One of the three officials fired by G4S reportedly boasted on social media about a brand-new car before and after the escape.
Senohe Matsoara, a security supervisor, was believed to have helped Bester escape.
Three independent sources told TimesLIVE Investigations he was not scheduled to be on duty the night of Bester’s escape but reported for the shift.
When reached for comment, Matsoara denied being on duty but a logbook entry showed he was. During a follow-up he swore at the reporter before ending the call.
BODY RELEASED DESPITE ERRORS WITH DEATH CERTIFICATE
On Tuesday, TimesLIVE reported the death certificate, burial order and notice of death used by Bester in his escape contained several glaring irregularities, including no identity number.
Bester has allegedly been using his original identity number in business ventures exposed as scams.
A MURDER BEING INVESTIGATED
Police confirmed they are investigating a murder after foul play was suspected in Bester's escape.
An autopsy report revealed the person found in Bester's cell died from blunt force trauma to the head, meaning the person had already died before the fire.
“A case of escape from lawful custody was also registered on confirmation by the department of correctional services (DCS) that Thabo Bester was not in their custody. The likelihood of more charges being added cannot be ruled out,” said police spokesperson Brig Athlenda Mathe.
A SOCIALITE AND 'ACCOMPLICE' IN HIDING
The father of socialite doctor and Bester's girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana told eNCA on Wednesday she is in hiding.
He said she had contacted him to ask about her mother's health, but would not give any details on her whereabouts.
“One time she was in touch with me when all this fracas started. She was asking me about her mom’s health and she said she is in hiding ... she didn’t need to explain to me, I know what is happening there in Johannesburg. [I am] very worried. How can I not be worried about my daughter?
“I don’t want any person to know her whereabouts because I don’t trust anybody. It’s a very sensitive matter. I have left it to the people to do their investigations and all that,” he said.
Her practice in Morningside, Sandton, was closed and the lights were off this week.
WATCH | BESTER ON THE MURDER AND RAPES THAT GOT HIM CONVICTED
A 2011 interview with Bester was published by TimesLIVE this week, in which he spoke of the murder and rapes that saw him behind bars.
“I am responsible for her death, but I am not responsible for killing her.
“I can't plead guilty to murder because I did not intentionally want to kill her. But I can plead guilty to bringing a knife into her presence.”
He claimed he was not somebody one should worry about leaving a woman in a room with.
PODCAST | Thabo Bester is a 21st century headache for correctional services
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