Husband ‘who pushed pregnant wife off cliff’ acted ‘carefree minutes after plunge’ and ‘wasn’t sad when collecting body’

A HUSBAND accused of pushing his pregnant wife off a cliff to cash in on insurance was totally calm when he flagged down a passing motorist for help, a court heard.

The driver was giving evidence at the start of the high-profile trial of Hakan Aysal, 40, who is accused of murdering Semra Aysal, 32, at a picturesque beauty spot in Turkey.

Hakan Aysal is accused of murdering his wife while on holiday in June 2018

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Hakan Aysal is accused of murdering his wife while on holiday in June 2018Credit: Newsflash

The couple had been on holiday in Butterfly Valley, in the district of Fethiye in the city of Mugla, when the shocking death happened in June 2018.

Sait Erturk, the motorist who was flagged down by the defendant shortly after Semra plunged over the cliff, told the court he was surprised at his 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 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.”

Another witness, Recep Sahin told the court: “I stopped there to see the view of Kabak Bay with my family.

The couple had been on holiday in Butterfly Valley in the district of Fethiye, Turkey

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The couple had been on holiday in Butterfly Valley in the district of Fethiye, TurkeyCredit: Newsflash
Semra Aysal, 32, was seven months pregnant when she died

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Semra Aysal, 32, was seven months pregnant when she diedCredit: Newsflash
The coastal spot where the tragedy happened

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The coastal spot where the tragedy happenedCredit: Newsflash

“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’”.

In the indictment for ‘deliberate murder’ it states Hakan “planned the murder of his wife by first taking out a personal accident insurance on her behalf with a guarantee of TRY 400,000 (£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 into the death was announced.

In a video interview, the court heard from the wife’s brother, Naim Yolcu, who said: “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 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.”

Local news outlet NTV reported that in the reports requested by the court from the banks, it was stated that Semra had a total of seven loans taken out in her name.

The rescue team retrieve the dead body of the wife

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The rescue team retrieve the dead body of the wifeCredit: Newsflash
Hakan's motive was to cash in on the insurance, it is claimed

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Hakan’s motive was to cash in on the insurance, it is claimedCredit: Newsflash
Semra's unborn child also died in the tragedy

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Semra’s unborn child also died in the tragedyCredit: Newsflash

Asked about the insurance premiums, Hakan 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.”

Hakan was also asked about the paragrpah in the accident personal insurance stating that “in case Semra Aysal dies, her heir will be her husband Hakan Aysal.”

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

His defence team called for an acquittal due to lack of evidence that he pushed his wife off the cliff.

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 and the case continues.

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