Lion Man Scott-Crossley shielded from scrutiny

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mark Scott-Crossley, the so-called Lion Man, must be the luckiest convict in the country.

The state has decided that he is too shy to be seen by the general public doing community work as required by his parole conditions.

Originally convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his employee, Nelson Chisale, and throwing him into a lion's den, Scott-Crossley was released on parole after serving a mere three years of an already controversial five-year jail term.

This was after the supreme court of appeal overturned his conviction of murder and chose to believe his version that he had been coerced by an employee to dispose of the already dead Chisale by feeding him to the lions at Scott-Crossley's farm in Hoedspruit.

The murder conviction was replaced with an accessory after-thefact charge - meaning that he participated after the murder had been committed, his only guilt being helping to dispose of Chisale's body.

Scott-Crossley's co-accused, Simon Mathebula, was not so lucky and was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in jail. He is still languishing in prison and has not had his case reviewed.

Now Scott-Crossley has not returned to the Acornhoek police station where he was doing community service in terms of his parole. Fellow parolees there say they have not seen him since October.

Sowetan has for the past three weeks tried in vain to find out where he was doing community service, if he were actually doing it. The state won't say where he is, arguing they want to protect him from the prying media.

Sarie Peens, Department of Correctional Services spokesman in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West, would also not reveal where Scott-Crossley was doing community service.

"I can confirm that he is still doing community service in terms of the parole conditions, and we visit him at home. But we can't say where he is doing this because of the media attention he had previously attracted," Peens said.

She said she had spoken to the officials who were directly involved with monitoring Scott-Crossley and established that he was not willing to be interviewed.

"His rights have to be respected," Peens said.

Scott-Crossley's parole ends in September next year.