News / South Africa / Courts

Natasha Pretorius
2 minute read
14 Feb 2019
10:15 am

Man commits suicide in police cells at Krugersdorp court

Natasha Pretorius

A man who was arrested earlier this year on theft and fraud charges took his own life in the cells before his scheduled court appearance.

Billy Byleveld's funeral photo. Photos: Natasha Pretorius.

Billy Byleveld, 32, took his own life while waiting for his court appearance in the Krugersdorp police cells at the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court, reports Krugersdorp News.

Byleveld was arrested earlier in January on charges of theft and fraud.

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On January 23, after being in jail for 18 days, Byleveld was sent from one courtroom to another before his bail application appearance.

He was accompanied by a cell guard and before being escorted back to the cells, he threatened that he would commit suicide because he was not prepared to go back to jail.

His father tried to calm him down and comfort him before he was hustled into the cells.

That would be the last time his family would see him alive. While they were waiting for him to appear in court, a guard approached Byleveld’s stepfather to inform him that his stepson had committed suicide.

Byleveld’s family was devastated, since they had been assured by the guard who took their son to the cells that he would be fine.

Billy’s mother Leensa Engelbrecht.

Byleveld hanged himself and was left hanging for almost two hours before the forensic team showed up.

Although Byleveld was always in a lot of trouble, his family wants to know why this happened in a place where people are supposed to be watched, especially after making claims like Byleveld did.

Krugersdorp News approached the police’s watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), for comment.

Moses Dlamini, spokesperson for IPID, told Krugersdorp News that an investigation was still ongoing and that there was not much he could comment on right now.

When the Krugersdorp News approach the Krugersdorp Court on the matter, the journalist was told that no one was available, and would ever be available, to talk to the media and referred the matter to the department of justice (DoJ).

Advocate TL Ramathikhithi of the DoJ said they had a specific protocol to follow in this matter and that the Krugersdorp News’ request for comment had been forwarded to the chief directorate of the department.

The family has in the meantime sought legal advice on the matter.

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