Female warder stabbed to death in 3-hour prison hostage ordeal

Prison cell bars.
Prison cell bars.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

A female warder at the Goedemoed prison in the Free State was stabbed to death when she and another female warder were held hostage for nearly three hours by an inmate on Friday afternoon, police confirmed.    

Police said that according to available information, the prisoner, who was busy with cleaning duties, forced both women into an office and locked himself inside with them at around 3.30pm on Friday afternoon.

“After realising what was happening, the authorities at the centre mobilised the response teams including SAPS hostage negotiators who started negotiating the release of the officials for almost three hours, after which the prisoner surrendered.

“When the response teams comprising of correctional service officials and Tactical Response Team (TRT) members entered the office they discovered the body of a 35-year-old warder full of blood due to stab wounds sustained while held hostage,” police said.

Her 33-year-old colleague was still alive and treated for shock as she appeared to be traumatised, police added.

“The prisoner was rearrested and taken into custody. He will be charged with murder, and other charges might be added based on the outcomes of interviews with the surviving warder and the results of a post-mortem,” police said.

 They added that particulars of the deceased warder and her fellow colleague would only be made known after their families were formerly notified. 

The incident was also confirmed by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru).

According to Popcru’s spokesman, Richard Mamabolo, the second female warder was raped, but this could not immediately be confirmed by police.

"One female official has been fatally wounded, while the other has been raped by an inmate. Our Popcru provincial secretary is visiting the institution and further details will follow," said Mamabolo on Friday night.

The JCIS’s inspecting judge, Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, said: "That DCS [department of correctional services] officials work under dangerous and stressful situations and asks them to continue to be vigilant whilst performing their duties."

The JICS said it would continue monitoring the situation at the Goedemoed prison.

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