Murderer who faked his death in South African prison arrested in Tanzania

Murderer who faked his death in South African prison arrested in Tanzania
South Africa's Department of Correctional Services

A notorious South African rapist and murderer who had been on the run for a year after faking his own death in prison was arrested in Tanzania on Friday 7th April 2023.

Thabo Bester, known as the “Facebook rapist” for using the social networking site to lure his victims, was caught with his girlfriend and a third suspect and was then extradited to South Africa in a specially chartered plane.

Police said they believe the trio were intending to flee into neighbouring Kenya.

Bester 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.

On Tuesday 3rd May 2022, it was reported that Bester had died in his cell after apparently setting himself on fire at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in the city of Bloemfontein.

However, local media began to raise doubts about Bester’s death late last year.

In March 2023, police opened a new murder investigation after further tests revealed the deceased was not Bester – and that the unidentified person had died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

Bester was caught in Tanzania, just 10 kilometres from crossing into Kenya, with his girlfriend, celebrity doctor Nandipha Magudumana, who was also arrested and deported along with her father and a former prison warden accused of being accomplices in Bester’s escape.

Employees of the British-owned security company G4S, which ran the prison where he was held, have been accused of helping him flee. The company has said three employees were dismissed in connection with the incident.