A murderer who faked his own death to escape prison has been arrested in Tanzania – almost a year after a fire that was supposed to have killed him.
South African Thabo Bester, 35, was dubbed the “Facebook rapist” as he used the site to lure at least two women he was convicted of raping. He was also found guilty of killing one.
He was sentenced to life in 2012. Last May it was reported that he died in a fire in his prison cell.
But then reports surfaced of him being seen in Johannesburg and DNA samples showed the body burned beyond recognition in the cell was not his.
Last week police raided a luxury home Bester was believed to have been renting in an upmarket Johannesburg suburb before he fled across the border to Tanzania.
For almost a year after his prison escape Bester lived a lavish lifestyle with his girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana, a celebrity doctor, local news outlet GroundUp reported.
A two-week manhunt ended on Friday when Bester was arrested along with his girlfriend and a Mozambican national believed to have helped them cross borders and evade police.
They were found with several fake passports about six miles from the Tanzanian border with Kenya.
The process has been started to extradite the group to South Africa, where they are expected to face several charges.
While in prison, Bester used a laptop he had for studies to run an event and production company, GroundUp reported.
At one point he addressed a conference from his prison cell, telling attendees that he was speaking from the US, it reported.
Bester’s elaborate prison break has raised questions about the possible involvement of prison officials.
At least three officials have been fired from the prison Bester escaped from, the Mangaung Correctional Centre, according to local reports.
The maximum security prison was managed privately by the British-based G4S security firm, but the South African government has now taken over management.