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Monday 1 May 2017

Father-in-law charged over death of Irishman

Stewart Maclean

A PENSIONER was yesterday charged with the murders of his daughter and her Irish husband in South Africa.

Erwin Poppinger (75) appeared in the dock at the Alberton Magistrates Court near Johannesburg.

The elderly South African was arrested on Tuesday after the bloodied bodies of his daughter Kim McGuirk (34) and her husband Kevin (53), from Dublin, were found at their home.

Both were shot at point-blank range as they got ready for bed.

Yesterday, Mr Poppinger appeared for a short hearing, in which he heard the charges against him.

The pensioner was not asked to enter a plea and was remanded in custody until a further hearing next Thursday.

Police confirmed he would be transferred to the Boksburg prison south of Johannesburg.

Spokesman Manaka Raphulu said: "(Mr Poppinger) appeared in court and was formally charged. He will now be remanded in prison until a further hearing on August 25.

"It is possible that we could hear further details about the incident at that stage."

The accused was driven to court in a police van yesterday after spending two nights in the cells at the Alberton police station.

Confessed

The hearing came after he allegedly confessed to police that he had killed the couple.

Detectives told earlier this week how the suspect had calmly waited overnight in the suburban home before apparently calling police himself to report the murders.

His licensed 9mm pistol was confiscated when police arrived at the scene of the shootings at 10am on Tuesday. Officers discovered the couple's bodies on the bedroom floor.

Mr McGuirk had been shot in the back and his wife had been blasted in the head.

Friends and relatives have since paid tribute to Mr McGuirk, who wed his second wife Kim around four years ago.

The couple are believed to have met through their shared love of scuba diving and ran a successful dive tourism business from their home.

They were due to take a group of tourists on holiday next month to the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar.

Many of Mr McGuirk's family still live in Ireland and have been informed of the tragedy by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

They have described how the father of five was known for his broad smile and loved being surrounded by his family.

The Irish Embassy in Pretoria has confirmed that it is providing consular assistance to Mr McGuirk's family.

An official said it was unclear whether his body would be repatriated to Ireland or buried in South Africa.

Irish Independent

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