Swaziland
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SUSPECT DISAPPEARS FROM CELL

MBABANE – Police officers were taken aback when they discovered a suspect missing from a cell at the Mbabane Police Station.

Information gathered was to the effect that Phinda Martins escaped without a trace shortly after Sergeant Tevin Ndlangamandla, who was the shift officer on the day, had locked all the burglars leading to the cells.Testifying against Martins, Ndlangamandla told the court that the shocking discovery was made after officers under the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) came looking for the suspect, who was kept in the cells at around 8pm.

suspect

He told the court that the officers requested for the cell keys in order to see the suspect. Ndlangamandla told the court that he handed over the keys to the officers as he was attending to other clients.“I told the officer to make sure that they lock the cell and all buglars leading to it and return the keys after seeing the suspect.“Within a short space of time, the officers informed me that the burglar leading to the cell was widely opened with the padlock hanging from the chain. I was shocked by what was said by the officers because I had personally locked the burglar when I took over as the shift officer,” Ndlangamandla told the court. He stated that he then proceeded to the cell only to find three out of four suspects.

shocking

He told the court that what shocked him the most was that even the metallic door, which he had personally locked, was unlocked. “I had locked the metallic door with the long key and all the bundle of keys were under my custody before I gave them to the CID officers,” he submitted.He stated that while wondering about what had happened, one of the suspects informed him that the missing suspect was Phinda Martins, who was charged with robbery among other cases.Ndlangamandla told the court that he then verified the name of the missing suspect from the RSP registry. He stated that he also verified with the officer who handed over the shift to him. Ndlangamandla submitted that he raised the alarm so that the police officers available at the time could search the police station and the surrounding areas.

However, he told the court that the search was in vain as Martins was nowhere to be seen.“I then reported the matter to the authorities before an inquiry file was opened,” he submitted.
During cross-examination, Martins asked Ndlangamandla if there was a break-in to the cell. He also asked when exactly the police officers discovered that he was missing from the cell.
 Worth noting is that Martins admitted having escaped from police custody.In response, Ndlangamandla told the court that the discovery was made even before the CID officers could use the cell keys. The matter has been adjourned until July 14, 2023 for continuation.