Original inquest into Timol's death was part of a cover up: investigator

Startling information surfaces in Ahmed Timol inquest.
Startling information surfaces in Ahmed Timol inquest.

The inquest into activist Ahmed Timol’s death has heard gripping evidence of how the original inquest into his death in police custody was a cover up and failed the basics of an impartial investigation.

Retired police officer and experienced investigator Frank Dutton on Thursday told the inquest held in the North Gauteng high court that “the investigation into the death of Timol amounted to a cover up of the truth“.

He told the inquest that he in fact doubted the existence of Mr X‚ an undercover agent who is said to have seen Timol jumping out of the window to his death at the notorious John Vorster Square building in 1971.

He said Mr X was supposedly the person who walked into the room where Timol was detained and mentioned that they knew where Quinton Jacobson‚ who was believed to be Timol’s co-conspirator‚ was; which was said to have frightened Timol to an extent that he walked to the window and jumped to his death.

Dutton said Mr X did not appear before the original inquest.

 He said it was highly unlikely that an undercover agent would walk into a police building‚ which had a number of detainees‚ as he would risk blowing his cover.

“I wonder if Mr X existed‚” he said.

Dutton‚ who assisted Timol’s family to obtain evidence that enabled the inquest to be reopened‚ said it was apparent from his examination of the original inquest that people who were on the 10th floor‚ from which Timol was said to have jumped‚ were not called as witnesses.

“They should have spoken to everybody on the 10th floor. They should have asked them if they heard any screams‚ did they see anyone being aided to walk and whether they did see any torture‚” he said.

Dutton testified that the body was removed within minutes of the fall and carried into the building in a blanket‚ saying this was part of a cover up as this was to ensure that Timol did not survive.

“Moving the body was part of a cover up‚ to ensure Timol did not survive‚” he testified.

Dutton said the spot where Timol landed was not marked or photographed while the body was still there.

He said forensic examinations for fingerprints‚ fluids or shoe polish on the window through which Timol was said to have jumped were not conducted.

Timol died on October 27 1971 while in police custody at John Vorster Square. An inquest held in 1972 found that he had committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the 13-storey building. However‚ Timol’s family have refused to believe that he killed himself and asked for the inquest to be reopened because new information had come to light.

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