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Thabo Bester asks court to consider death penalty and release co-accused in his ‘alleged escape’

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Convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester on Wednesday asked the court to consider imposing a death sentence on him and release his co-accused.

Convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester. Picture: Screenshot

CONVICTED murderer and rapist Thabo Bester on Wednesday asked the court to consider imposing a death sentence on him and release his co-accused.

Addressing the Free State High Court, Bester represented himself after his latest legal representatives recused themselves from the trial, apparently over unpaid fees. He has been given seven days to appoint new legal counsel.

“I feel it’s unfair for these people who are sitting here as my so-called co-accused to be in court when I know very well that they have nothing to do with this,” he said.

“Your Honour, I say this as a broken man and I say this wholeheartedly, it tears me apart to see these people in this court, knowing well that they are suffering for something they know nothing about.”

Quoting legislation that has since been abolished, he requested that he be given the death penalty via a petition that will be signed by the public.

“Immediately I will agree to it and we can end this matter. I came here with 80 cars, I woke up at 2am. I’ve been having chains on my feet. My feet are ice. I cannot feel my toes at this point. This is not the way I want to proceed, your Honour.

“If it means that this court can accept the petition and the public can sign it, then we can put all this to rest. I am at peace. I know what I’ve done and what I have not done,” Bester told the court.

Bester said that “none of this” would have happened if there was “no backhand of political watchdogs”.

An impassioned Bester took swipes at the Department of Correctional Services, claiming that even when he consulted with his legal team, their calls were being recorded and that he feared for his mental well-being, as he had not been in contact with people, other than the guard stationed outside his cell, in 15 months.

He further slammed the media for the way in which he was being portrayed in the articles written about him.

He further complained about being told what to wear to court so it would not draw attention. He said he was told not to wear name-brand clothing because of the impression it made on the public.

Bester, along with his co-accused – Nandipha Magudumana, Zolile Sekeleni, Xando Moyo, Teboho Lipholo, Buti Masukela, Teiho Makhotsa, Senohe Matsoara and James Lipholo, were in court on charges relating to Bester’s escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

They are expected back in court on July 24.

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