Teacher who died in Wellington fire had ‘injuries to her neck’

2017-06-14 14:20
Jacques and Sunita van Dyk who died of smoke inhalation during a fire at a farmhouse outside Wellington in May. (Facebook)

Jacques and Sunita van Dyk who died of smoke inhalation during a fire at a farmhouse outside Wellington in May. (Facebook)

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Cape Town - A post-mortem has revealed that a teacher, who died in a fire along with her husband in their farmhouse outside Wellington last month, had sustained neck injuries.

While it is not yet clear what caused these injuries, News24 understands these are consistent with being strangled.

Sunita van Dyk, 31, was found dead in the early hours of May 10 in the bathroom of a burning home on the Oakdene farm outside Wellington.

Her husband Jacques Van Dyk's body was found near her in the bathroom.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and several puzzling factors, aside from Sunita's neck injuries, have emerged.

These include that the couple apparently did not try and escape through a sizeable window in the bathroom as the home was burning, a private investigator has been hired to probe the incident and that there were apparently strange visits to the scene afterwards by someone close to Van Dyk.

On Tuesday, asked whether Sunita had been strangled, Western Cape Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana replied: "The post-mortem confirmed neck injuries and the cause of death is smoke inhalation. An inquest is been investigated."

She said the cause of the fire had not yet been established.

A forensic report in the matter was still outstanding.

Incidents surrounding death

The fire broke out at the home on the Oakdene farm, apparently in the early hours of May 10.

Van Dyk, her husband and their dog Skollie, were found dead after the fire at the house, discovered around 03.15, was extinguished.

Her body was found flimsily clothed in the bath in the bathroom, while her husband's was found lying next to hers.   

At first it was believed the blaze may have been caused by a spark from a fireplace in the living room.

A representative of Jacques's family on Wednesday said they were probing what had happened and that a private investigator was helping them.

Sunita had been a teacher at Paarl Gymnasium Primary school.

Several matters leading up to her death, as well as incidents after it, are understood to form part of the private probe into what happened.

News24 has also established that someone close to Sunita had come across as obsessed with her.

A person, who was not a police officer and not officially linked to police, had apparently gone to the burned home several times, starting shortly after the fire.

Three weeks before her death, it had emerged Sunita was having an affair.

Principal acknowledges mistake

Earlier this month the principal of Paarl Gymnasium Primary, Danie le Roux, had written a letter to parents about the matter.

Netwerk24 reported that he wrote that in trying to mentor and help someone, he had crossed the line in terms of professionalism.

"Me and my wife allowed one of our staff members to come close to us at a personal and emotional level," Le Roux wrote.

Netwerk24 reported that he said it was the biggest lesson of his personal and work life. 
 
Le Roux wrote the personal mistake should not reflect on the school.
 
He, according to Netwerk24, wrote that he and his wife had been mentioned in the media with one-sided information being published, all the while having to deal with two deaths that had affected the school.
 
He said the articles in the media resulted in perceptions being created and the questioning of him as a principal and integrity as a person.
 
Le Roux, according to the Netwerk24 article, wrote that he and his wife loved each other.
 
Asked about whether the Western Cape Education Department had dealt with the matter - Sunita's death and allegations of an affair - department spokesperson Millicent Merton said it had "offered support" to teachers and pupils.


Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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