Plato condemns teen's Beaufort West cell death

(iStock)
(iStock)

Cape Town - Western Cape Safety and Security MEC Dan Plato on Friday condemned the death of a teenager in a Beaufort West police cell.

Plato said he was horrified by what happened to 18-year-old Gerdo Karelse whose bloodied and battered body was found in a cell during inspection on Monday morning.

"It happened in police custody and it must be investigated," said Plato on the sidelines of a community policing conference in Delft.

READ: Teen's 'lips missing, teeth knocked out' in fatal holding cells attack

Karelse spent the night behind bars after being arrested for assault and malicious damage to property, but never saw his day in court.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie said earlier this week an autopsy would be conducted but reports claim that he was found naked with multiple facial wounds.

Plato welcomed the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's probe into the teen's death and hoped the investigation would answer many of the questions around it.

"Did they check him every hour? Did they hear him scream?" asked Plato.

Zuko Mqungquthu, 29, who had been sharing Karelse's cell, was charged with his murder and appeared in the Beaufort West Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He was remanded in custody until his bail application on July 5.

He had initially been detained on a charge of domestic violence.

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