Family killing orphans teen

2008-02-11 00:00

THE midlands village of Wartburg was the scene of a family shooting yesterday that claimed the lives of 45-year-old mother, Belinda Jane St John Ayre, and her estranged husband, Lindsay (50), and left the couple’s 15-year-old daughter, Kirsty, fighting for her life in hospital.

SAPS Inspector Joey Jeevan said late yesterday that the teenager was understood to be in a serious, but stable condition in Medi-Clinic hospital.

Initial police investigations indicate that St John Ayre shot his wife and daughter and then turned the gun on himself after an argument.

Jeevan said police were called to his residence in High Street, Wartburg, at about 12.30 pm.

On arrival they found Belinda St John Ayre with a gunshot wound to her head, slumped behind the steering wheel of her vehicle in the yard.

Her estranged husband lay a few metres from the car, and had also been shot in the head. He had a .38 special revolver in his hand.

Police were told that the couple’s critically injured daughter — who was shot in the abdomen — had already been removed from the scene by neighbours and rushed to a local clinic.

After being given emergency treatment by a local doctor, the teen was rushed to hospital.

Jeevan said neighbours heard gunshots and called the police. It is believed that Belinda St John Ayre had gone to the house to fetch her daughter, who was spending the weekend with her father.

An argument allegedly ensued and during the altercation St John Ayre shot his wife and daughter, then himself.

Belinda St John Ayre was shot in the head and died instantly at the scene.

Jeevan said it was reported that the couple had been separated since November and were getting divorced.

The Witness learned that St John Ayre was employed by Telkom as a technician. His late wife’s family, who were from Pietermaritzburg, reportedly emigrated to America several years ago.

A relative of the couple, who accepted a telephone call from The Witness, said the family were distraught and did not feel it appropriate to speak to the media at this stage. “At the moment we are all waiting for news of the child who is in intensive care,” he said.

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