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Suspect dies in police cell

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — A 24-year-old man allegedly involved in a M2 million copper cable heist was found dead in a police cell at Police Headquarters in Maseru.

Pheello Molefi from Ha Shelile is suspected to have committed suicide using a lace from a jacket he was wearing on March 26, two days after his arrest.

Police spokesman Masupha Masupha said Molefi was arrested for allegedly stealing copper cables owned by Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL).

“A police officer who was on duty found him lying dead in the morning when he came to check him,” Masupha said.

The deceased was alone in the cell when the officer found him dead, with a lace tied around his neck.

A post-mortem by a government doctor showed no foul play was suspected.

Masupha said this was not the first time a prisoner had died in police cells.

“In some cases in the past police were suspected to have been involved in the prisoner’s death but we are investigating this matter.”

Meanwhile a man who set his former lover’s home on fire after finding her in bed with his neighbour has been sentenced to two years in jail.

Thabang Ramalitse of Lower Thamae has an option to pay a M2000 fine after Magistrate ’Makopane Taole described him as a first offender who had shown remorse for the crime.

Ramalitse pleaded guilty to a charge of arson which he described as an act of vengeance.

“May the court be lenient as I was in love with the complainant and I felt betrayed when I found her in bed with my neighbour,” he said in mitigation.

The court heard how the 26-year-old sneaked into his former girlfriend, ’Malikent’so Pokomane’s home and doused it with paraffin last Thursday, destroying all household property in the fire that ensued.

Unfortunately for Ramalitse, a neighbour, Nthabeleng Kopo, spotted him and alerted the police and other neighbours.

Kopo told the court that she saw Ramalitse, whom she knew as the complainant’s boyfriend, enter the yard carrying a white container.

Within minutes, she said, she saw smoke coming out of Pokomane’s house as Ramalitse left the place.

Pokomane who received reports that her house was on fire while she was at work, told the court that the white container had paraffin that was used to start the fire.

“This came about after I broke up with Ramalitse who had been my boyfriend,” Pokomane said.

Qinumutsi Tshabalala prosecuted.

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