Animal smuggler kills himself by committing suicide by snake as he is arrested in South Africa (PHOTOs)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
 – A security guard committed suicide by a snake by getting one of his cobras to bite him after he was arrested by police in South Africa.

Marius Joubert, 28, died in agony after his illegally-smuggled Indochinese Spitting Cobra and a second snake reportedly pumped lethal venom into his hand and wrist after he stuck his hand in their tanks.

The snake dealer was aware that his cobra had been smuggled into South Africa from Thailand 5,500 miles away, and there was no anti-venom to save his life.

The armed security officer realised that police were about to uncover his illegal racket of importing illegal animals that could see him serve 25 years behind bars.

Instead of facing a long spell in jail, he decided to hand himself a death sentence, even while police were present in his home.

According to Mail Online, Police in Hennenman, 100 miles north of Bloemfontein, had kept him in for questioning and were about to take him back to his house to search it for any proceeds of crime.

He realised that they would find his huge menagerie at the home where he lived with his wife Chimonet, 26, and that serious charges under the Wildlife Act would follow.

Officers took him in a marked car to the terraced corner house unaware that a spare room, a bedroom, the lounge, and entrance hall were packed with over 60 snakes.

They were shocked to also find a crocodile, iguanas, monitors, tarantulas, hedgehogs, and ferrets all kept warm by solar power, special heating pads and extractor fans.

When officers took his cuffs so he could reveal stolen property he asked if he could feed the creatures who he said would be starving.

What they did not expect was for him to then use his own snakes to commit suicide.

A source close to the investigation said: 'Joubert knew that sooner or later after his arrest the police would visit his home and that they would find all these illegally kept creatures.

'And he knew the offences he would then be charged with would be much more serious and that many of the snakes and animals he had could put him behind bars for 25 years.

'He asked if he could feed his snakes and once the cuffs were off he stuck his hands in two cages and was bitten by two snakes in the wrist area and then was restrained,

'We know one of the snakes that bit him was an Indochinese Spitting Cobra which would have put a s**t load of venom in him but we don't know what the other snake was,' the source added.

'An ambulance was called but Joubert refused treatment and said he would be fine and was taken back to the police station and warned of further animal related charges.

'In the meantime the paperwork for burglary and theft was completed and he was about to be released on a warning until his court date then he started to appear very unwell,' they continued.

'Then he collapsed and was rushed by another ambulance to the Bongani Hospital in Welkom but as the spitting cobra is not native to South Africa there was no anti-venom.

'The venom is both a neurotoxin and a cytotoxin which means it shut down his lungs and suffocated him and also caused severe bleeding and destroyed his body tissues.

'It was an extremely painful and horrific way to end his life and it took about 9 hours from the bite to collapse and another 3 hours for the snake's venom to kill him' he said.

Captain Stephen Thakeng of the Free State Province police confirmed Joubert had been taken to his house on Easter Saturday on March 30 to further investigate criminal charges.

He confirmed his officers reported that Joubert had stuck his hand into two of the cages and that his actions were deliberate and that he had intended to get himself bitten.

He said the suspect was brought back to the police station and charged and was about to be released pending an appearance at Hennenman Magistrates Court on April 5.

Captain Thakeng added: 'We were not aware of venomous snakes on the property when we went to the address but once inside he opened two cages and put his hand inside.

'It was deliberate and he was bitten twice on the hands and later died in hospital'.

A police investigation has been launched into where the exotic pets had come from and who the deceased man's customers were.

An inquest has also been opened into his violent death.

The security guard was facing a number of charges of burglary and theft dating back to July after a private investigator handed in evidence against him, leading to his initial arrest.

The source said: 'Whether he convinced the police the snake was non-venomous or not I don't know but he did not appear to be in any distress until he suddenly collapsed.

'But he knew the snakes that bit him and knew there was only going to be one outcome. It was clearly suicide by snake. It was just a waiting game until the venom killed him.

'He was up to his eyes in it for smuggling in exotic creatures without permit and keeping them in cruel conditions and he was looking at multiple sentences of 25 years each.

'It would seem he wanted to take another route out and his spitting cobra provided that. There is no blame on the police who could not have suspected what he would do.

'The officer called the hospital later to check on him and was told he was dead' he said.

The Bloemfontein Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals were called in and found 70 illegally kept animals, most of them snakes, and called in snake removal experts.

Stephanus Fourie and David Hayter removed 62 snakes including a variety of exotic and local cobras, mambas, anacondas, pythons, rattlesnakes, puffadders, and vipers.

As well as several deadly rinkhals snakes there were also exotic hedgehogs and ferrets, a Nile crocodile, African bullfrogs, Iguanas, Nile and Rock monitors and 3 sugar gliders.

They also carefully removed the two exotic Indochinese Spitting Cobras and said the one which bit Joubert was a fully grown adult nearly 5 feet long and highly dangerous.

Chief Inspector of the Bloemfontein SPCA Reinet Meyer said: 'The scenes inside the house were like a horror movie with over 70 wild animals all severely neglected.

'The animals were all removed by the SPCA to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital by two snake catchers and are undergoing examination and treatment.

'We hope in time to heal as many of the indigenous species as possible and return them to their natural habitat but sadly the foreign exotic animals will have to be euthanised.

'It is not our policy to house animals in zoos or in captivity but only in the wild.

'A number of the animals and reptiles had tragically already succumbed to starvation and dehydration and were very neglected and in poor health and will need lots of care.

'This man would have been in far more trouble with the charges we would have brought for animal cruelty and keeping animals without permits than he would have been for theft.

'He deliberately put his hand in two cages and was bitten twice. We know one was the Indochinese Spitting Cobra but we don't know what the other type of snake was.

'It is clear he wanted to kill himself through his snakes but I would rather have seen him in court because what he did to those animals and how he kept them was totally cruel.

'Joubert was a real coward to commit suicide rather than face up to what he did to those animals. It is a shame that so many will have to be euthanised due to him' she said.

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