Awaiting-trial prisoner found hanged in cells

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A 28-year-old awaiting-trial prisoner was yesterday found hanging by a string from a ventilator at the Pietermaritzburg high court's holding cells.

His death has brought to seven the number of inmates who have died in the last few weeks in KwaZulu-Natal jails.

Police spokesman Superintendent Joshua Gwala said a policeman who had gone to the holding cells just before lunch yesterday made the horrific discovery.

"Before the man was found dead he had appeared in court at about 10.50am. His case was remanded to December 3," said Gwala.

"The man was then returned to the court's holding cells."

He said the deceased was arrested in May last year in the Pietermaritzburg CBD area.

"He was charged with armed robbery, attempted murder and malicious damage to property. But he was granted bail then."

Gwala said the deceased appeared in the court yesterday after he was rearrested on Sunday by members of the Organised Crime Unit. The man was arrested after skipping bail in December.

"A postmortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death. No foul play was suspected. But the Independent Complaints Directorate are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident."

The identity of the deceased is being withheld until his next of kin are informed.