Thabo Bester: Body used in South African rapist’s prison break identified
The father of a man whose body was used by a notorious South African rapist to escape from prison has demanded to know how his son died.
Thabo Bester managed to break out of prison last year after faking his own death by setting fire to his cell.
A body was found inside, which was initially believed to be Bester’s but it has now been identified as belonging to Katlego Bereng.
His father, Batho Mpholo, says he needs “the truth and nothing but the truth”.
He says that police told him that his son had collapsed in the city of Bloemfontein and then died in hospital, before he was taken to a mortuary.
“How did Thabo Bester get hold of my son’s body if he was in a government mortuary,” he asked in an interview with the ENCA news channel.
When the body found in the cell was re-examined in March this year after suspicions were raised by local media, it was found that the person had died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head.
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Mr Mpholo says he does not believe the police account of what had happened to his son, who was aged 31 when he went missing in April 2022.
The South African police declined to comment on Mr Mpholo’s statement, beyond saying that they were pleased to bring closure to the family.
Mr Mpholo says that relatives went to Bloemfontein’s mortuaries looking for him and there was no sign of him – and no news until his mother was asked to do a DNA test last week.
Mr Mpholo describes his son as a fun-loving soccer fan, who leaves behind a daughter aged four and a son aged two.
“I am broken. My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” he told the News24 website.
Mr Bereng’s mother, Monica Matsie, broke down in tears while being interviewed by national broadcaster SABC.
During the confusion caused by the fire in the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, Bester managed to escape from prison dressed as a warder.
News of the escape caused widespread shock and outrage in South Africa, where local media dubbed him the “Facebook rapist” because he used the site to lure women with promises of jobs before attacking them.