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Thief puts his hands inside poisonous snake cage, dies before trial

Marius Joubert took his own life by putting his hands into a cage where he kept poisonous snakes while the stunned police who had arrested him watched him commit suicide.

After Joubert died, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) found his home in a state “worse than a horror movie”.

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The 28-year-old died just before the Easter weekend.

Joubert was supposed to appear in the Henneman Magistrate’s Court on 5 April on housebreaking and theft charges.

Pictured above: Marius Joubert.Image source: Marius Joubert/Facebook
Pictured above: Marius Joubert.
Image source: Marius Joubert/Facebook

Captain Stephen Thakeng, a Free State police spokesperson, said that Joubert had agreed to show the police stolen items in his home.

He was handcuffed when they brought him to his house, but they uncuffed him so he could show them where the stolen items were.

Suddenly, Joubert put his hands into a cage of snakes, was bitten and later died at Bongani Hospital in Welkom.

Reports from Rapport said the cages contained venomous bush cobras, green mambas, and a rare Cape cobra, sometimes called a copper snake.

Reinet Meyer, a senior inspector at the SPCA in Bloemfontein, told Netwerk24 that they found over 70 neglected wild animals in Joubert’s home.

“For me, it was worse than a horror movie,” Meyer said.

“Several animals were starving and dehydrated, and a couple were already dead.”

More than 60 animals, mostly venomous snakes, survived.

“The animals were carefully removed in a joint operation by the SPCAs in Virginia and Bloemfontein and were examined and treated at a wildlife hospital in Johannesburg.”

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