Murderer who faked own death in prison caught by police after a year on the run
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A convicted murderer who faked his own death to escape from prison has been arrested after almost a year on the run.
A year prior, he was also found guilty of raping and robbing two other women.
Bester, 35, was dubbed the ‘Facebook rapist’ as he used the social media site to find victims.
Last May, a man was found burnt to death in Bester’s cell at Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.
However, last month a new post mortem investigation revealed that the badly burnt body discovered in the cell didn’t belong to Bester and that the person had died from blunt force trauma to the head. The body’s identity is still unknown.
A joint statement from police and justice ministries released earlier this month read: “A case of murder is under investigation following the outcome of the DNA analysis that confirmed that the body of the deceased which was found, was not of Thabo Bester.
“The autopsy report went on to further reveal that the deceased had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, and was already dead, prior to the arson incident.”
A manhunt was launched and Bester was found in Tanzania last Friday (April 7).
He was found alongside his girlfriend and a third person.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the trio were found with ‘multiple passports in their possession’ but added that, as yet, ‘none of the passports were stamped’.
Cele said the three suspects were found around just over six miles from the Kenyan border, explaining at a press conference: "It looks like they were heading into another country."
Announcing the arrest, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said: "(We) can confirm that escapee Mr. Thabo Bester with his accomplice Dr. Nandipha Maguduma(na) along with a Mozambican national have been arrested in Tanzania late last night.”
Bester is now awaiting extradition to South Africa and officials have flown out to collect him.
“An official delegation from South Africa, comprising senior officials from the police and the department of justice and correctional services will depart for Tanzania on Sunday,” Lomola said.
"We are confident that we will receive maximum cooperation from our sister nation, Tanzania, to assist us to bring these fugitives to justice.”
Private security firm G4S, which operated the prison Bester escaped from, said it had dismissed three members of staff since the incident.