A man convicted of stealing goods from an East London bookstore was found dead, hanging by his jacket, inside the holding cell of the East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Rigardt Ray De Clerq, 29, of Moore Street, Quigney, was pronounced dead shortly after 3pm.
Police said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.
An SAPS court orderly found De Clerq hanging by the holding cell’s door. He was alone in the cell.
Moments earlier magistrate Kevin von Bratt fined De Clerq R1500 or five months in prison for theft.
A source close to the development said: “When he was brought into the cells to wait for his transport to West Bank prison he swore at court orderlies.
“He kept on swearing and they ignored him and all of a sudden he became very quiet, so quiet that one orderly went to investigate just to find him dead.”
The theft case relates to an incident in November last year when De Clerq entered Bargain Books store in Beacon Bay and stole items valued at R904.70.
He was arrested by Beacon Bay police and lreleased on warning.
When he skipped his court dates an arrest warrant was issued against him, leading to his re-arrest on Monday.
The case was investigated by Detective Warrant Officer Craig Springfield.
Springfield has since been promoted to the rank of captain and transferred to the directorate for priority crime investigations.
The Dispatch understands De Clerq had another case of theft to face in court before he died.
His body was retrieved from the scene and transported to the Woodbrook state mortuary at 6pm.
East London police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala said an inquest docket was opened and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) had been informed. — firstname.lastname@example.org