Avatar photo

By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Thabo Bester expected in the dock in Bloemfontein later today

Bester was on the run with his so-called 'customary wife,' disgraced doctor Nandipha Magudumana, when they were arrested in Tanzania on Wednesday.

Convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, who faked his own death to facilitate an audacious break from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May last year, is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed that Bester is on his way to Bloemfontein.

Bester was serving a life sentence at the time of his escape.

“He at this stage faces a charge of escaping from lawful custody, defeating the ends of justice, violation of a dead body and fraud,” said Mathe.

Bester was arrested in Tanzania with his so-called customary wife, disgraced doctor and mother of two, Nandipha Magudumana, and a third suspect on Wednesday. It is believed the trio were intending to flee into the neighbouring Kenya.

Bester, dubbed the “Facebook rapist” owing to his modus operandi for using the social networking site to lure his victims, was convicted in 2012 for the rape and murder of his model girlfriend Nomfundo Tyhulu.

A year earlier, he was found guilty of raping and robbing two other women.

In May last year, it was reported he had been found dead in his cell after apparently setting himself on fire in a single, isolated cell at the prison.

Thereafter, Magudumana claimed ‘Besters remains’ saying he was her customary husband, despite being legally married to another man, pediatric doctor, Mkhuseli Oscar Magudumana.

According to GroundUp, the Magudumana’s entered into a civil marriage in 2013 and they are still registered as such on the Home Affairs database.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana back in SA

Private jet for criminal extradition

The couple was flown back South Africa on a private jet under heavy police guard on Thursday, with Magudumana making her first appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court a few hours later.

While police say she has not been formally charged yet, she is expected face charges of aiding and abetting an escape from prison, murder, violation of bodies and fraud.

Magudumana was joined by Tebogo James Dipholo, an employee contracted to a company that installs CCTV cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC), where Bester escaped custody after faking his death.

ALSO WATCH: ‘Thabo Bester will be guarded by highly trained officers’

The 44-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday. He allegedly manipulated the MCC’s cameras, for a fee, on the night and morning that Bester ‘walked out’ of jail.

Magudumana will appear in court again on Monday along with other co-accused in Bester’s prison escape.

The matter was postponed for bail information and a possible bail application.

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

*This is a developing story

NOW READ: Government knew Thabo Bester had escaped, but did nothing

Read more on these topics

Dr Nandipha prison escape Thabo Bester

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits