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Mystery death in cell

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Mystery death in cell

by Shahista Rohan-Toefy
23 Apr 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

THE LIMP BODY of a 23-year-old man was found hanging from the bars behind the toilet in a cell at the Athlone Police Station.


In the early hours of Saturday, 19 April, two Sector 3 police were doing routine patrols when they noticed Julian Geldebloem beside the river channels near the N2 and Bokmakierie.

They arrested him at 03:50 after seeing a five-metre-long copper cable that was apparently in his possession.

At 05:00 Geldebloem attempted to call his girlfriend and mother of his twin daughters: on failing, he tried to phone his sister. She was not available either: her boyfriend answered, and was asked to contact Geldebloem's girlfriend.

At this point none of his family knew he was imprisoned. It was at 06:00 that police discovered his dead body hanging from a makeshift rope.

Captain Andre Venter, on behalf of the Athlone Police Station, says that most cells have a mat in them to make the rooms a little warmer. The mattress-sized mats are also used by inmates as a place to sleep when cells are crowded.

Venter says that this thick plastic mat had been pulled apart: Geldebloem had apparently reinforced the mat's material and made a rope.

On Monday, 21 April, Geldebloem's father, John Carelse, cousin, Magdalene Paulse and family friend, Fatiema Fisher, visited the Athlone Police Station and spoke to Captain James Louw and Captain Venter about their concerns.

After explaining the exact sequence of events to them, the officials requested any information that could shed light on the mystery.

Carelse says that Geldebloem had been on drugs, but "had changed" after his daughters were born.

He further states that Geldebloem had had a train accident in 2001 which had resulted in him losing half of one of his legs. Geldebloem, who resided in Mossel Bay, had apparently only come to Cape Town two weeks ago to see his Groote Schuur doctor about the pain of his injury.

On the way to identify the body at the mortuary, Carelse says that Geldebloem had taken care of his niece when she was growing up, and had served as a good example to her.

"I can't understand why he would do a thing like this. He was always a support for people and he was very responsible."

According to Carelse, he entered his room on Thursday and saw that the photo that normally hung above his bed, was lying on the bed. He picked it up and hung it up. This apparently happened twice afterwards and gave him a bad feeling.

On Friday when he left the house he says he told his son not to go anywhere, and that when he returned he would give him some money. His son left anyway.

"I don't know what could have pushed him to do this to himself," says Carelse.

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