Accessibility links

Breaking News

"Facebook Rapist" in Court Friday


FILE - Thabo Bester is seen on a TV camera screen in the Western Cape High Court, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 3, 2012, where he appeared in connection with murder.
FILE - Thabo Bester is seen on a TV camera screen in the Western Cape High Court, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 3, 2012, where he appeared in connection with murder.

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - A rapist and murderer who broke out of jail and left a burnt corpse in his cell, Thabo Bester, appeared in a South African court on Friday, a day after being flown back from Tanzania.

habo Bester, whose daring prison break has gripped the country for weeks, had a blank expression on Friday in the courtroom.

Dubbed the "Facebook rapist", Bester - who was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 - lured victims on the social media platform before raping and robbing them. He killed at least one victim.

He escaped from a privately-run prison almost a year ago - but police said they only found out last month.

In May 2022, the charred body of a man was found in Bester's cell, leading prison authorities to believe that he had set himself on fire, but DNA later revealed the body belonged to someone else.

Bester was arrested last Friday by Tanzanian police, after he fled South Africa along with his alleged lover Nandipha Magudumana and a Mozambican accomplice.

Magudumana, who is a celebrity doctor and social media influencer, appeared in court on Thursday facing several charges including murder.

Bester's request to address the court was rejected by the magistrate.

Bester's lawyer requested to have him back in court as soon as possible, but lost the bid as the state said it needed a month to investigate and ensure safety protocols were in place for Bester's next court appearance.

The case has been adjourned to May 16.

Bester and his accomplices were arrested in Tanzania with several passports in their possession.

Four others have recently been arrested in connection with the escape plot, including the doctor's father.

Magudumana and the four others are due to appear in court on April 17.

XS
SM
MD
LG