'Filthy' prison hospital driving murder accused to suicide‚ says lawyer

A Spanish doctor accused of murdering his twin children in Cape Town refuses to sleep on a “filthy mattress on the ground” in the hospital section of Pollsmoor Prison.

Mario-Ceasar Deus Yela’s lawyer‚ William Booth‚ told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday that his client had stopped eating and drinking and was a suicide risk.

Booth said the conditions in the hospital section — where “20 people share one toilet” - had a “mental and physical” impact on his client.

When the bearded and long-haired Yela‚ 48‚ entered the court he walked slowly and looked frail.

He rocked gently back and forth in the dock as Booth tried to convince magistrate Goolam Bawa that the conditions in one of South Africa’s most infamous prisons were unsuitable for his client.

“I’m worried about his emotional state with regards to his suicidal tendencies. People think if you’re sent to a prison hospital it’s like any hospital. It’s not‚” said Booth.

Yela was arrested in Wynberg on April 7 after he allegedly confessed to his ex-wife that he had murdered the 3-year-old children.

According to the state he reportedly called her to the apartment he was renting in Hout Bay‚ where his children were visiting him‚ to confess to the crime.

Booth also requested that Yela’s psychiatrist‚ Professor Tuviah Zabow‚ be granted access to the police docket to get information on the Spaniard’s “condition” before‚ during‚ and after the alleged incident.

He also claimed that Yela was in a car accident just before the incident.

State advocate Louise Freister opposed fiving Zabow access to the docket but agreed that the psychiatrist should see Yela.

The case was postponed to April 25 and Bawa ordered that Yela be monitored for allegedly being a suicide risk.

Zabow will be able to see him on Friday to make a full assessment of his mental state.