Annanias Mathe

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Annanias Mathe (c. 1976 – December 27, 2016),[1] sometimes spelled Ananias Mathe, was a notorious serial rapist and armed robber from Mozambique who achieved further notoriety in 2006 by being the only person to have ever escaped from the maximum high-security C-Max Penitentiary in Pretoria, South Africa.

Mathe was initially arrested on 51 counts of murder, attempted murder, rape, hijacking and armed robbery in November 2006.

Whilst being detained in the A6 ward of C-Max Penitentiary which houses dangerous and hardened criminals, Mathe managed to escape by smearing himself with petroleum jelly and sliding out of his cell window, which measured only 20 cm x 60 cm. This daring escape led the South African press to dub him 'Houdini'.[2] Mathe had escaped from police custody before, in April 2005.[3]

His last escape prompted a nationwide manhunt, the events of which were closely monitored by local media. He was re-arrested on 4 December 2006 (about two weeks after his escape), when he hijacked a car in the affluent Johannesburg suburb of Craighall. Unknown to Mathe, the vehicle was fitted with a satellite tracking device, which led police and private security companies to Mathe after a chase during which he was shot three times in the leg and buttocks.

Mathe was found guilty on 67 of 71 charges including rape, attempted rape, attempted murder, robbery and theft,[4] and was sentenced to 54 years imprisonment with a minimum of 43 years.[5] Six prison wardens linked to his latest escape were dismissed.[6]

Mathe died in the King Edward VIII hospital on December 27, 2016,[7] after his health deteriorated. He reportedly suffered from constipation and urinary retention.[8]


  1. ^ Ananias Mathe sentenced to 54 years behind bars
  2. ^ "Article". The Washington Post. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 3 January 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ "The prison escape campaigns of Ananias Mathe - Connect - Connect". Archived from the original on 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ "Mathe gets 54 years in jail". News24. 2009-12-08. Archived from the original on January 31, 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Six dismissed for helping Mathe". News24. 2009-12-09. Archived from the original on January 14, 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  7. ^ SA's most notorious criminal Ananias Mathe has died
  8. ^ Savides, Matthew. "SA's most notorious criminal Ananias Mathe has died". Times LIVE. Retrieved 2016-12-29.

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