Thabo Bester, a convicted rapist and murderer who escaped from a South African prison by faking his own death, has been arrested in Tanzania. Bester had been on the run for a year after authorities believed he had died by setting himself on fire in his prison cell. However, a new post-mortem investigation revealed that the body found in the cell was not his, leading to a manhunt for Bester.
Bester, known as the “Facebook rapist” 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 had been found guilty of raping and robbing two other women.
Bester was caught on Friday with his girlfriend and a third suspect and will be extradited to South Africa. Police said they believe the trio were intending to flee into neighbouring Kenya.
Employees of the British-owned security company G4S, which ran the prison where he was held, stand accused of helping him flee. It has said three employees were dismissed in connection with the incident. Earlier this week, representatives for the organisation failed to attend a meeting in parliament about Bester’s escape. The BBC has approached G4S for comment.
Bester’s escape sparked outrage in South Africa, which has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world. There have been many reported sightings of Bester over the past year, including claims he was grocery shopping in an affluent suburb of Johannesburg and was living in a rented mansion there.