Look inside the KZN home where 4 people were strangled and torched

2018-01-19 14:45
PHOTO: Gerhard de Bruin

PHOTO: Gerhard de Bruin

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“That place is creepy,” warn the neighbours in Mtwalume, almost 90km from Durban, when talking about the remote three-bedroom home where the gruesome murders took place.

Your skin definitely crawls as you walk towards the house where the four family members were bound, strangled and set alight: Ethen McKenna (9), Kayla McKenna (16), Jeffrey Julyan (34) and the grandfather of the two children, Peter McKenna.

“We could hear the explosion from here,” people at a nearby fast food shop tell us. Some of them ran in the direction of the sound roughly a kilometre away – along the gravel road leading to the isolated home which is surrounded by tropical vegetation.

The tragic crime happened a few weeks ago on 19 December 2017 but the details of what transpired in the house are still shrouded in mystery. “Police are still at a sensitive stage of the investigation,” Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, police spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal tells YOU.

“No arrests have been made yet, and the motive can’t be revealed at this stage,” she says before promising to be in touch as soon as more details become available.

People in the town say Jeffrey’s father was busy moving out of the house when the family was attacked during a robbery. The four deceased were all tied up, strangled and left behind in the burning house. Two other men survived the fire, and Jeffrey’s brother, Wesley, only suffered smoke inhalation.

In the overgrown forest just a few metres from the burned ruins, the body of Kenneth Gary van Aardt was found in a shallow grave on 27 April 2003.

Wesley, then 19, was a suspect in the murder, but he plead innocent when he was accused of strangling Kenneth with a shoelace.

He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but had since been released on parole. Police at this stage refuse to comment on whether or not the two murders are connected.

Kayla wanted to become a journalist and did some job shadowing at the South Coast Herald in Port Shepstone. She was much loved by the personnel.

She would’ve completed Grade 11 at Port Shepstone High School this year. Her brother Ethen, would’ve been started Grade 3 at Port Shepstone Junior Primary.

Their mother Leanne Julyan, was camping with friends along the East Coast at the time that we were visiting, in an attempt to “get away from everything”.

Pictures: Gerhard de Bruin

Sources: netwerk24.com, news24.com, iol.co.za

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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