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‘Houdini’ back behind bars

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By Daneel Knoetze

Cape Town - A murder suspect, dubbed the “Houdini of Pollsmoor”, has been re-arrested a little over a week after he escaped from the prison.

Police found him hiding under a bed in a relative’s home in Surrey Estate, Athlone.

Denzil Adams, who stands accused of murdering 27-year-old Veronique Dickson on November 22, was taken back into custody at about 10am on Thursday, and two people in the house were arrested on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.

Acting on a tip-off, police were led to the front door of a member of Adams’ family in Surrey Estate. They searched the house and found Adams hiding underneath a bed. He resisted arrest and put up a fight, but was unarmed.

 

This was confirmed by police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, who said the 28-year-old would now also face a charge of escaping from lawful custody in addition to the murder charge.

“The suspects are due in court on Monday. Preliminary investigations revealed that Adams escaped while in transit to court. However, a more detailed investigation will be conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the matter,” Traut said.

After gathering evidence that allegedly implicated Adams in the murder of Dickson, police first arrested him at his home in Surrey Estate on December 4.

He appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court two days later and his case was postponed to December 11.

On that day (December 11), he left Pollsmoor prison’s maximum security section as one of 63 detainees on their way to court in Cape Town. Yet, when the police vehicle transporting them arrived at the court, Adams was missing.

He’s believed to have evaded police, who take custody of detainees from Correctional Services as they are loaded into the truck, and somehow managed to escape the prison grounds by clinging to the vehicle’s chassis.

The circumstances of his escape are now the subject of an internal police investigation.

Dickson’s landlady, Priscilla Patrick, and her family were filled with fear at news of his escape.

“We are so relieved, but I’m a bit disappointed that the police didn’t inform me about this development. At least now we will be able to have Christmas in peace,” said Patrick.

Dickson’s family, who live in Stanford, also expressed their relief.

“We were so disappointed and afraid when we heard that he was on the loose… You don’t know what is going through his head… or whether he would come after us,” said Karin Dickson, Veronic’s mother.

She would not attend Adams’s court case, saying it would be too upsetting to hear about the circumstances of her daughter’s death.

Carla Williams, spokeswoman for Correctional Services, said Adams’s escape had not been the fault of Pollsmoor officials.

“Nonetheless, we are all very relieved. This is a reminder to us all to be on our toes and to be more vigilant. This goes especially for this time of year, when we have more escape attempts than normal,” Williams said.

daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

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