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Durban - A magistrate’s show of compassion wasn’t enough to save a prisoner, who eventually died of cardiac arrest while in a holding cell at the Durban Regional Court on Friday.
Magistrate Anand Maharaj’s response was immediate when he heard murder accused Alex Soobben, 61, was in great discomfort in a holding cell below his court.
Maharaj pulled off his robe, handed his spectacles to one of his colleagues and knelt on the greasy cell floor to perform first aid on the dying Soobben.
Though Maharaj vigorously pumped Soobben’s chest and administered CPR, his desperate attempt to revive the prisoner was fruitless.
“I have newfound respect for him after seeing him in action today. He was determined to revive the prisoner even when it was clear the man was dead,” said a court staff member who did not want to be named.
Soobben, a former taxi driver, was accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Brenda Pillay, on April 13, 2007. He allegedly shot her at her Overport home.
The taxi driver had been on the run since the 2007 shooting but was eventually caught at the Sydenham home of his last girlfriend in January.
He was held at Westville Prison since his arrest.