Gerdo Karelse, 18, was taken into custody on June 26 and was found dead in the holding cells the next morning.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has found that a Beaufort West warrant officer lied about hourly checks being made on the holding cells where Gerdo Karelse was murdered.

Cape Town - A Beaufort West police warrant officer lied and must be charged in connection with the death of 18-year-old Gerdo Karelse, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Robbi Raburabu said.

The teenager was taken into custody on June 26 and was found dead in the holding cells the next morning. He had been kept in the cell with a fellow detainee, 29-year-old Zuko Mqungquthu, who had been arrested for domestic violence.

Read: Suspect in dock for murder in police cells

Mqungquthu was charged for Karelse’s murder. He appeared in court on June 28 and it was discovered that the teenager’s naked body was found in a pool of blood and had severe facial wounds.

After Karelse’s murder, Ipid conducted an investigation.

“We found the warrant officer on duty lied in his report about the conduct of police that morning. Proper procedure regarding hourly checks of the holding cells were not followed,” said Raburabu.

The warrant officer had said that other officers conducted checks of the cells that morning, but Ipid’s probe found the officers were in fact not on duty, said Raburabu.

“We will submit these findings to SAPS and recommend this officer be charged.”

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said while he could not comment on the Ipid probe, police have concluded their investigation into Mqungquthu.

“However, the accused is still being detained awaiting the availability of a bed for psychiatric evaluation.”

Mqungquthu is expected to return to the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court on August 5.

Karelse’s mother, Sannie Wyles, said Ipid’s investigators visited her last week, but gave no information on their investigation.

“I hope that they charge this officer who allowed this to happen to my son. The truth may be clear now, but the police must act according to the law and let this officer answer for what he has done.”

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Cape Times