Dad of dead man used by murderer to fake death in prison escape 'doesn't believe' police explanation

23 April 2023, 20:35 | Updated: 24 April 2023, 01:19

Thabo Bester (L) used the body of Katlego Bereng Mpholo (R) to fake his death and escape prison.
Thabo Bester (L) used the body of Katlego Bereng Mpholo (R) to fake his death and escape prison. Picture: Getty / Facebook/Katlego Bereng Mpholo

By Chris Samuel

The father of a man whose body was used by a rapist and murderer to escape prison in South Africa says he doesn't believe police's account of his son's last hours alive.

Convicted killer Thabo Bester went missing from prison in May 2020, following a fire in his cell at Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.

A body was found in the cell, which was initially believed to be that of Bester, but after susupicions were raised by local media it was later identified as that of Katlego Bereng Mpholo.

Bester was recently arrested along with his girlfriend, Nandipha Magudumana, in Tanzania, almost a year on from the blaze he was thought to have died in.

But Katlego's Bereng's father Batho Mpholo has said he doesn't believe the account given by police of the hours leading up to his son's death.

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In an interview with the ENCA news channel, Mr Mpholo senior said he was told by police that his son, who had been missing since April 2022, "collapsed" in the city of Bloemfontein and then died in hospital.

His body was then taken to a mortuary, police said.

Thabo Bester at Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on April 14, 2023 in Bloemfontein.
Thabo Bester at Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on April 14, 2023 in Bloemfontein. Picture: Getty

But family members checked several mortuaries in the city after reporting Katlego Bereng missing, and found no sign of him, Mr Mpholo said.

Commenting on version of events that was given to him by police, he said: "I don't believe it. There is more to it."

Mr Mpholo said he doubts that his son knew Bester or his girlfriend.

Describing the official narrative as "not true" he said has no idea where his son's body is.

Katlego Bereng Mpholo
Katlego Bereng Mpholo. Picture: Facebook / Katlego Bereng Mpholo

"How did Thabo Bester get hold of my son's body, if he was in a government mortuary?" he asked.

The South African police declined to comment on the statement, but said they were pleased to bring closure to the family.

Speaking to the News 24 wesbite, Mr Mpholo, who lives in Thembisa, a township northeast of Johannesburg, said: "My heart is shattered into a million pieces,"

"I cannot believe it; his mother Monica is devastated. She is in a complete state of shock. She's not able to talk yet. This is devastating news."

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