Daughter in tears as she meets dad's alleged killer
Published 07/09/2011 | 05:00
THE heartbroken daughter of an Irishman killed in South Africa yesterday broke down in court as she came face-to-face with her father's alleged killer.
Grieving Siobhan McGuirk (21) wept as Erwin Poppinger (75) was led into the dock to face a magistrate in South Africa in relation to the death of her father Kevin McGuirk.
"I wanted to come and see him for myself," she said.
Mr Poppinger, the father of Mr McGuirk's 34-year-old wife Kim, has been charged with double murder following the deaths of his son-in-law and daughter last month at the couple's home near Johannesburg.
Mr Poppinger allegedly told police how he calmly blasted the pair with his pistol as they slept on the night of August 15.
Mr McGuirk's daughter gripped the hand of a family friend as she watched the white-haired suspect being led into the courtroom in Alberton, south of Johannesburg.
Later the tearful nursing home worker, who travelled to South Africa from her home in Dublin, told how the tragedy had left her family shattered.
She said: "My whole family is in terrible shock.
"We are all still grieving but we want answers about why this happened. Most of all, we want to see justice done."
Ms McGuirk flew to South Africa last month with her siblings, Karen (34) and Kevin junior (30), days after their father and his wife were killed.
The McGuirks were found dead on the morning of August 16 at the home they shared with Mr Poppinger.
Police visited the bungalow after the former mechanic allegedly confessed to the fatal shooting to a friend.
Forensic tests revealed that Mr McGuirk, a diving school boss, had been shot in the back as he slept.
Detective believe his wife was then blasted between the eyes after she was woken by the noise.
Mr Poppinger was remanded in custody and his 9mm pistol was confiscated.
Yesterday, the accused appeared in court as his lawyer made an application for bail.
However, Mr Poppinger was remanded again in custody until September 13.
Mr McGuirk, a father of five, has two other daughters -- Michelle (25) and Nicola (29) -- who have remained in Ireland since the tragedy.
Ms McGuirk also explained why she was the only one of her siblings who travelled to South Africa who felt strong enough to attend the hearing.
She said: "I fly back tonight and I wanted to come and see him for myself.
"A few of us met him before when we came over for my father's wedding, and he seemed like the nicest man in the world.
"Since then I've known there's been problems between him, Kim and my dad -- but I never thought it would come to this.
"The three of us came over to help out with the arrangements and for the funeral."