An Australian music teacher who disappeared in Africa three months ago was allegedly poisoned and thrown into a crocodile-infested river by his former lover.
Mark Ciavarella, from the NSW Hunter region, had been living and teaching in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo for six years before he was reported missing on October 26.
In a stunning update, Mr Ciavarella’s former partner and flatmate has allegedly confessed to police his involvement in the death and why the 56-year-old Australian was killed, the Daily Telegraph reported.
In the taped confession that is reportedly due to be played in court in March, Clement Bebeka allegedly said he and another man killed Mr Ciavarella after he revealed he was returning to Australia, the publication said.
“I came to Brazzaville to the apartment … and (saw him) with a friend, I didn’t know if they were together, but he said Mark was going to leave the country and leave us with nothing and said we needed something to benefit,” he allegedly said.
“He said he had a solution. I asked, ‘what is it?’ He came back with a bottle of poison, Mr Mark went to pee in the shower and (the friend) poured the poison into a glass on the table and Mr Mark came back and drank the poison. It happened in front of me.
“No, I didn’t intervene … (the friend) told me we needed to get his money and his bank cards. He didn’t have money on him but he did have it on his bank card."
Bebeka allegedly said Mr Ciavarella drank the poison, fell asleep and “after 35 minutes or so he was dead”.
The two suspects then reportedly called a driver who helped them dispose of the body in the Congo River.
“The body was folded in a bed sheet … I then went to the police station to tell them Mr Mark had disappeared,” Bebeka allegedly said.
Back in Australia, Mr Ciavarella’s devastated family are struggling to come to terms with his horrific death.
“If it was a crash or illness, it would be easier to come to terms with, but the fact they killed him and fed him to crocodiles in the sea is killing us, it’s too painful to imagine his last moments, we are absolutely devastated,” Darren Ciavarella, Mr Ciavarealla’s brother, told News Corp.
Family receive strange WhatsApp message from missing man's phone
It comes after the family received a strange message from Mr Ciavarella’s WhatsApp account two weeks after he was reported missing.
The message showed a short clip of an African man’s foot before the phone became uncontactable, leaving the family distressed.
“We’re a little bit lost at the moment because we can’t get through on that phone. So they’ve obviously switched sim cards or something,” Darren Ciavarella told Sunrise at the time.
Darren said his brother knew Brazzaville was a dangerous spot but he was “very passionate” about teaching the children in Africa.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.