vlakfontein sibusiso ernest khoza

Facebook / Sibusiso Ernest Mabaso

Vlakfontein murder suspect found dead in police custody

More shocking news has emerged from the Vlakfontein case, as murder accused Ernest Mabaso was found dead in his cell on Thursday.

vlakfontein sibusiso ernest khoza

Facebook / Sibusiso Ernest Mabaso

The harrowing Vlakfontein case has taken another disturbing turn, as it was revealed to the court that suspect Ernest Mabaso had apparently killed himself while in his prison cell, his lawyers revealed on Thursday.

Mabaso initially went on the run when the bodies of four children and three women were found mutilated and buried in heaps of sand at their home in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg. He was soon found and has been remanded in police custody since November.

Vlakfontein latest: Suspect commits suicide

The murder accused was due to appear in court on Thursday for a scheduled bail application. However, his legal team broke the news to the court’s counsel as soon as the session started.

Ernest Mabaso, who has used several aliases in his lifetime, complained of illness during proceedings at the end of 2018. The judge postponed the case to a later date while he received medical attention. The 27-year-old had also alerted authorities to his claims that he was being intimidated and threatened by his co-accused, Fita Khupe.

Mabaso’s stance is that he acted out of fear and had not premeditated the murders. He admits that he strangled, raped and murdered the women and children of the Khoza family. However, he felt at the time that, if he had not done what he was told by Khupe, his co-accused was going to kill him.

What next for the case?

A question mark hangs over the future of the trial. Mabaso’s death is set to affect both the defence and prosecution’s approach to their cases. Although Kupe will still receive a full examination, it’s cast yet another shadow over a trial that has been shifted around differen courtrooms and struggled to get underway on multiple occasions.