An inquest by the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid) is underway after a man was found dead in the holding cells of the Secunda Police Station in Mpumalanga yesterday, following an apparent suicide.
The man, Wynand Pretorius, was awaiting trial after he was arrested in January for allegedly setting the house he rented with his girlfriend on fire, Ridge Times reported.
While his girlfriend and daughter were not at home during the incident, his son managed to run out of the house to get help.
Police arrived at the scene and saved Pretorius who was later sent for psychiatric evaluation.
He appeared in the Secunda Magistrate’s court on Tuesday, facing a charge of arson and was meant to appear again on 5 April.
He was found hanging in his cell at about 1pm on Thursday. It is believed Pretorius used mattress cover strings to hang himself.
Investigations into the matter are ongoing.
In a similar incident, a 43-year-old man accused of raping his stepdaughter attempted to commit suicide in the holding cells of the Verulam Magistrate’s Court in KwaZulu-Natal in October last year.
The accused was waiting to be sentenced when he allegedly tried to hang himself with a long sleeved shirt, police said.
Paramedics found the man in a critical condition after the shirt ripped which resulted in the man falling and suffering extensive open head wounds. He later taken to hospital under police guard.
– Caxton News Service