‘Hluleka Resort offices broken into the morning of attack’

2019-09-20 15:00
Hluleka Resort staff sit around near the chalets booked by the couple and their friends on Tuesday morning, a few hours after Karen’s murder.

Hluleka Resort staff sit around near the chalets booked by the couple and their friends on Tuesday morning, a few hours after Karen’s murder. ( Ian Crouch)

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There was a break-in at the Hluleka Resort offices the morning well-known Underberg couple Matthew and Karen Turner were attacked and Karen was killed.

The resort has, however, been tight-lipped on the matter, acknowledging only that an office gate had been tampered with on the morning of the murder.

Karen (31) and Matthew (33) were staying in a chalet at the Hluleka Nature Reserve in the Eastern Cape ahead of a friend’s wedding this weekend when they were attacked. Karen was stabbed to death and Matthew is still in ICU at a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

Karen’s brother, Ian Crouch, on Thursday told The Witness he went back to the resort on Thursday as his sister’s post-mortem was to be held at a local mortuary there, and found out from witnesses and guests who had been around the resort at the time of the attack that the Hluleka offices had been broken into. “I was only told this happened this morning [Thursday]. We were not told this by the police or the resort but both knew about it. Two people staying at the resort during the time of the attack said they had heard the screams coming from Karen and Matt’s chalet and went to look for a phone to get help.”

Crouch said the men found one of the offices with the door already opened and the “place turned upside down”.

“They told me they spoke to police and the resort about it and reported it. We didn’t know any of that until this [Thursday] morning.”

When the resort was asked about the incident and why the families of Karen and Matthew were not told about it, the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency spokesperson Oyanga Ngalika said they had “been advised by police to direct all enquiries relating to the case and its details” to police.

“This is to ensure that evidence is not tampered with through speculative comments,” she said.

Crouch, however, said he felt that the resort was doing everything they could to make it look like a domestic dispute. He said he spoke to an officer on Thursday who had acknowledged there was a break-in at an office at the resort during the morning of the murder but said they weren’t ruling anything out. “Why is no one talking about this. People at the resort saw the office that had been broken into but nothing was said. Why?”

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Dineo Koena said no cases had been opened for a break-in at Hluleka offices.

Meanwhile, Crouch said Matthew was very emotional on Thursday but looked like he was on the mend physically.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder
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