Fam­ily dis­traught af­ter man’s sui­cide in hold­ing cell

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

THE mother and brother of a Sta­tion Hill man who al­legedly com­mit­ted sui­cide in the Port Al­fred po­lice sta­tion cells have come for­ward to speak of their shock and grief.

Mar­i­lyn Plaatjies and her son Ryno said they wanted the pub­lic to know the iden­tity of the man who al­legedly hanged him­self af­ter be­ing ar­rested for steal­ing a cho­co­late from Bud­dys/High­way Mo­tors.

“It was my son, An­ver,” Mar­i­lyn said. “He wasn’t a beg­gar. He had a home, a bed and a warm plate of food to come home to.”

The el­dest of three broth­ers, An­ver was 33 years old.

“I was up­set when they called him a beg­gar,” his mother said, re­fer­ring to the de­scrip­tion of An­ver in the Mul­tiSe­cu­rity re­port.

Mul­tiSe­cu­rity had re­sponded to a panic sig­nal at the shop on May 18, where they gave a de­scrip­tion of the cho­co­late thief. Po­lice joined the search and caught An­ver in Sta­tion Hill with the help of Mul­tiSe­cu­rity.

An­ver’s younger brother, Ryno, said An­ver had a job as a car guard at the R72 Saloon and had also taken var­i­ous tiling jobs.

“He liked go­ing to Buddy’s at night-time,” Ryno said.

Mar­i­lyn said An­ver was epilep­tic and took med­i­ca­tion for it. “He got fits some­times. It would also help if he ate some­thing sweet if he was hav­ing a fit. That’s why he might have taken the cho­co­late.”

Ryno said they had first heard An­ver had been ar­rested from a neigh­bour the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

“Half an hour af­ter that the po­lice told us he had com­mit­ted sui­cide in the cell,” he said.

The fam­ily were shocked by the news. “We didn’t know him to be hav­ing sui­ci­dal thoughts. He had never tried it be­fore,” Ryno said.

“He was very quiet and lov­ing,” his mother said.

“If only the po­lice had told us he had stolen a cho­co­late – we would have paid for it. When he was ar­rested that night no one at the po­lice sta­tion told us.

“We have rel­a­tives at the po­lice sta­tion and they didn’t tell us,” Ryno said.

He went with two of his aunts to iden­tify his brother’s body in the po­lice cell.

“He wasn’t even in the hold­ing cell – the one that’s right by the cops where they can see you. They put him in cell 2,” Ryno said.

“The door closes com­pletely – there’s not even light in there.

“They said he tore out the in­side of a jacket and hung him­self with it. It wasn’t his jacket, I’ve never seen him wear that jacket. He was still wear­ing his own jacket,” Ryno said.

“Where did the other jacket come from? Why was it left in the cell?”

Mar­i­lyn said they were still wait­ing for an au­topsy re­port. The In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

“The de­tec­tive told us there was a docket opened into [An­ver’s] death, but we haven’t heard any­thing since that Satur­day [May 20], the day af­ter he was found dead,” Ryno said.

TRAGIC END: An­ver Plaatjies has been iden­ti­fied as the man who al­legedly com­mit­ted sui­cide in the Port Al­fred po­lice sta­tion cells af­ter be­ing ar­rested for steal­ing a cho­co­late. This photo was taken about seven years ago

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