Twist in pregnant mum hacking murder
The brother of a pregnant woman hacked to death as she slept with her family at a resort in South Africa has sensationally claimed staff at the exclusive getaway are trying to frame her husband for murder.
Karen Turner, 31, and her unborn child were killed and her husband Matthew Turner, 33, stabbed in the stomach in the early hours of Tuesday morning as they slept at the Hluleka Nature Reserve on the Wild Coast.
Friends staying in a neighbouring chalet went to their aid after hearing "shouting and a scuffle" followed by uncontrollable screaming from the couple's toddler, only to be confronted by a bloodbath.
"The husband opened the door and he was bleeding. The wife was dead on her back," police spokeswoman Captain Dineo Koena told reporters.
"There was no sign of forced entry and everything inside the house was upside down. It was not like a robbery because no valuables were taken."
The child, Hayden Turner, only 23 months old, was not physically harmed in the attack but his mother and her unborn child died instantly. She was around three months pregnant.
Today more details about the horror incident emerged and they were significantly different from earlier reports, which said Ms Turner died instantly and Mr Turner could not recall anything after chasing the assailants off.
Mr Turner, who was rushed to hospital with critical injuries but is now in a stable condition following surgery, told police he woke to find a man stabbing him in the stomach and another man stabbing his wife.
However, speculation has been rife that there may be more to the story with police making cryptic comments and sinister theories circulating online.
Ms Turner's older brother Ian Crouch said he took a helicopter to the resort as soon as he heard of the tragedy, and claims he arrived - ahead of police - to find a woman telling resort employees to blame the murder on a domestic dispute.
"I saw the staff from the resort all gathered together," Mr Crouch told South African news outlet The Witness.
"A woman was talking and said she had been told by 'Vuyani' to say there was no staff at the resort after 11pm and no staff before 7am.
"She said she had been told there was a party at the chalet and there had been a domestic dispute."
Mr Crouch said the suggestion there had been domestic violence was fuelled when the resort reported that there had been an "argument" in the chalet.
In fact, he said, the friends in the neighbouring chalet had referred to hearing a "commotion". "This has caused complete chaos," he said.
The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) CEO Vuyani Dayimani has said they are working with police to assist with the matter.
ECPTA spokesperson Oyanga Ngalika said Mr Dayimani has confirmed that he "did not give instructions in any way, shape or form to staff to hinder an ongoing investigation of such serious magnitude".
Comments by police captain Dineo Koena have also fuelled rumours.
"He (the husband) is the only person who will lead us to who did this," Ms Koena told reporters yesterday.
Mr Crouch said his brother-in-law last night gave him a chilling account of how his sister died from his bed in the intensive care unit.
"Matthew said he woke up to being stabbed in the stomach and Karen screaming next to him," he told The Witness.
Mr Crouch said Mr Turner told him the couple and their son were asleep upstairs in their two-storey chalet when they were attacked.
"The one man was stabbing Matthew in the stomach and the other man was stabbing Karen," he said.
"He said he had already been stabbed a few times when he managed to push the man off him."
Mr Crouch said Mr Turner told him he believes the assailants were startled to encounter resistance and fled downstairs.
"Matthew said he chased after them and Karen was behind him. He remembers her saying to him to check on Hayden," he said.
"He tried to follow the men but saw them jump off the balcony. When he turned around, Karen had collapsed."
Mr Crouch said Mr Turner then heard their friends knocking on the back door of the chalet.
"The last thing he remembers is unlocking the door for his friends and then he collapsed," he said.
ECPTA spokesperson Oyanga Ngalika said the couple had booked in with friends and reserved two chalets. One chalet was for two adults and the second was for three adults.
When asked if Hluleka security had noticed anything strange the morning the murder occurred Ms Ngalika said: "The gate and office (at Hluleka) were tampered with, however, police can indicate how those occurred."
She said none of the fences surrounding the resort had been damaged.
However, Mr Crouch said there was no fence in front of the chalets from the beach and that there was a lot of foot traffic through the resort.
"The attackers took the weapons with them," he said.
"There weren't any knives found at the scene. The men didn't demand anything but Matthew thinks the men wanted to kill them so they would have the entire place to themselves to pick at, at their leisure.
"Everyone is taking strain and we are just taking everything step by step."