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Turkey: Husband accused of pushing wife off cliff was ‘carefree’ after

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Prosecutors allege Hakan Aysal murdered his wife so he could cash in on more than £40,000 of personal accident insurance

A husband accused of pushing his heavily pregnant wife off a cliff to cash in on insurance was ‘calm and carefree’ when he flagged down a passing driver for help after she fell, a court heard.  

Semra Aysal and her unborn child died instantly when she fell from a beauty spot in Fethiye, south-east Turkey, in June 2018.   

Prosecutors allege her husband Hakan Aysal murdered her so he could cash in on more than £40,000 of personal accident insurance he took out on her behalf before her death.  

The 40-year-old, whose trial in Fethiye began this week, denies the charges.  

Giving evidence in court Sait Erturk, the driver who was flagged down by the defendant on the road shortly after Mrs Aysal fell, said he was surprised at the husband’s apparent lack of concern. 

He said: ‘I was driving there when I saw someone was waving at me, and I stopped. Hakan came and said that his wife had fallen down the cliff. We immediately got out of the car and started looking for her, but we couldn’t see where she would have landed from where we were. 

He added: ‘We tried to get closer to the edge for a better look. Hakan did not come with us down there. We stayed there until the gendarmerie arrived. Hakan was very carefree and calm. He was not acting like a man whose wife just had fallen off a cliff.’ 

Sema Aysal, who died seven months pregnant after falling from a cliff (Picture: Newsflash)
Hakan Aysal is accused of pushing his wife off the cliff (Picture: Newsflash)

The couple had been on holiday in Butterfly Valley in the Turkish city of Mugla when the tragedy happened. 

After police announced the investigation, a tourist came forward with footage of Mrs Aysal’s last moments.  

Recep Sahin, who filmed the video, said he predicted that one of the pair would fall off the cliff. 

He told the court: ‘I stopped there to see the view of Kabak Bay with my family. My daughter was filming the view with my phone and the Aysal couple came down the slope at that moment.  

‘We even joked, “either this man will throw the woman off or the woman will throw the man”. There was no interaction between them.’ 

Prosecutors claim the couple sat on top of the cliff for three hours and this was so Mr Aysal could make sure no one was around. 

Hakan Aysal acted ‘carefree’ during the search for his wife’s body, a court heard (Picture: Newsflash)

As soon as he realised they were alone, it is alleged he deliberately killed his seven months pregnant wife by pushing her off the 1,000ft cliff.  

In the indictment prepared for the crime of ‘deliberate murder’ against the husband, it states that he ‘planned the murder of his wife by first taking out a personal accident insurance on her behalf with a guarantee of TRY 400,000 (GBP £40,865) and where the only beneficiary was himself.’  

The indictment also noted that Hakan claimed the insurance payment a short while later, but it was declined when the investigation was announced. 

The court previously heard from the victim’s brother, Naim Yolcu, who said Hakan did not appear sad about his wife’s death.  

‘When we went to the Forensic Medicine Institute to get the body, Hakan was sitting in the car. My family and I were destroyed, but Hakan did not even appear sad,’ he said.  

Semra Aysal with her husband Hakan Aysal shortly before she died

He added: ‘My sister was always against taking out loans. However, after she died, we learned that she had loans taken out by Hakan on behalf of my sister.’ 

According to local media Mrs Aysal had a total of 7 loans taken out by her husband on behalf of her. 

Asked about the insurance premiums, the defendant said: ‘I have been interested in extreme sports since 2014; parachute, bungee jumping, rafting. That is why I had life insurance before I got married.’  

The defendant was also asked about the article in the accident personal insurance stating that ‘in case Semra Aysal dies, her heir will be her husband Hakan Aysal. In case Hakan Aysal dies, his heirs will be family relatives’. 

He said: ‘I did not examine the policy much. The banker arranged the paperwork. I just brought it to my wife to get it signed. I was not aware that there was such an article.’ 

He has denied being responsible for her death, saying: ‘After taking a photo, my wife put the phone in her bag. Later she asked me to give her the phone.  

‘I got up and then heard my wife scream behind me when I walked a few steps away to get the phone from her bag. When I turned back, she was not there. I did not push my wife.’ 

During the hearing this week at Fethiye High Criminal Court, Hakan was absent due to being quarantined for Covid-19.

Hakan’s defence team have called for an acquittal due to lack of evidence.  

However, after taking into account the statements and requests from the prosecution, the judge ruled that the defendant must remain in detention.  

The hearing was adjourned while awaiting reports requested in the last session.

 The case continues. 

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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