South African fugitive Thabo Bester appears in court
A man who escaped from prison in South Africa by faking his own burning death appeared before Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday.
Thabo Bester and his girlfriend, celebrity doctor Nandipha Magudumana, had been on the run until their arrest in Tanzania last weekend.
Bester will now face added charges of fraud, defeating the ends of justice, escaping, and violating a body.
A member of his legal team said the next hearing would be held on May 16.
Magudumana was expected to be charged with murder as part of the elaborate jailbreak plot.
The ruse involved getting a dead body into the prison where Bester was incarcerated to help him stage his own death in a fire and escape.
Bester was convicted on one count of murder and two counts of rape and sentenced in 2012.
But he was formally declared dead by suicide after the fire in his cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Free State province nearly a year ago.
A prison guard and Magudumana’s father were charged with murder in connection with the body found burned beyond recognition in Bester’s cell.
The unidentified man died of blunt force trauma to the head before the fire, police said.
Details of the plot only made public and pieced together in the past three weeks and critics allege officials intentionally covered up the story.