Family’s Transkei tragedy

2019-09-18 15:00
Underberg couple Matthew and Karen Turner in happier times.PHOTO: facebook

Underberg couple Matthew and Karen Turner in happier times.PHOTO: facebook

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Shock waves rippled through the tranquil farming community of Underberg on Tuesday as news spread about a tragic incident in which Karen Turner (31) was stabbed to death and her husband Matthew was critically injured at a resort on the Wild Coast. 

The popular couple were holidaying at Hluleka Nature Reserve in the Transkei en route to a wedding when the incident happened, according to sources.

Karen had celebrated her birthday on Monday. She was stabbed multiple times and was found already dead in their cottage while her husband suffered upper-body injuries and was admitted to ICU at Mthatha according to police.

Their two-year-old son was not hurt.

News24 quoted Captain Dineo Koena saying the couple was found in their chalet at around 3 am on Tuesday.

“It is not yet clear what happened but [it] will be determined by the investigation ... According to their neighbour, loud voices were heard and when he went to check, he found their [baby] son unharmed,” she said.

She told The Witness the neighbours heard “shouting and a struggle” and when they went to see what had happened they found Karen dead, Matthew badly injured and their toddler son screaming. She added that Matthew was not stabbed but suffered other injuries to his upper body.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the couple had been staying at the reserve.

His information was that the couple reportedly had an argument before the woman was stabbed to death and the husband rushed to a private hospital in Mthatha.

The nature reserve, situated about 90 km from Mthatha, offers self-catering chalets next to the ocean.

Koena said there were no signs of forced entry and all their valuables were there.

“The husband was rushed to hospital in a stable condition and the baby is with their neighbour.”

Police were investigating a case of murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Matthew was managing Clovelly and Glenlea farms, according to information on his Facebook page.

The Turners are a very well known family who have lived in Underberg “for years”, according to members of the farming community. They are prominent in the dairy farming industry.

Matthew’s distraught father, Philip, said when contacted about the tragedy on Tuesday that he was unable to talk at the present time.

Hluleka is a small isolated resort along the beautiful coastline situated between Coffee Bay and Port St Johns.

Karen was reportedly pregnant at the time of her death, according to close friends who asked not to be named.

Matthew was born in Underberg and was a pupil at Michaelhouse.

It appears Karen was originally from Pietermaritzburg before moving to Underberg.

A close friend, who asked not to be named, said the couple’s family and friends had taken the news badly.

“People are not taking it very well. They were very well known and well liked by many. Everyone is really upset and traumatised.”

Matthew’s friend, Darryl Louch, took to Facebook to pay tribute to his two friends. “I have such a heavy heart today. Matthew Turner my heart bleeds for you mate. You have risen above challenges in the past, but nothing you have ever endured will make this one any easier. Something that we will never ever understand, but all we can do is stand by and pray for you and Hayden (son) during this incredibly tough time.

“Karen, may you rest in peace knowing that your boys are taken care of and will be looked after by those you leave behind. My support and prayers are with both the Turner and Crouch families during this horrific time.”

Another friend, Micky Hayter, commented on the post: “Absolutely tragic. So, so sad indeed.”

Michaelhouse teacher and former school-mate Ian Crawford said Matthew was well liked by his peers and many looked up to him.

“He played rugby and liked to be outdoors. It is very tragic news.”

Crawford said the school sends their support and condolences to both affected families.

Magma Security and Investigations owner Shaheen Sulieman confirmed he was at the scene in the Eastern Cape yesterday afternoon to start investigations.

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) CEO Vuyani Dayimani said it was with profound sadness that he learnt of the incident.

“As an agency that manages the reserve we are shocked by this unfortunate incident that took place at one of our flagship coastal reserves and are doing everything in our power to assist with the investigation as the safety and security of our guests remains a key priority for ECPTA.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder
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