Belfast Telegraph

Irishman and his wife shot dead in South Africa

Woman's father charged with murders

Shane Hickey and Stewart Maclean in Johannesburg

An Irishman and his South African wife have been shot dead in an apparent double murder by her father in Johannesburg.

The 53-year-old Irishman, who had lived in the country for a number of years, was found dead from gunshot wounds alongside his 34-year-old wife in the home they shared in Alberton on the outskirts of the city.

The woman's 75-year-old father was yesterday in custody after being charged with the killings.

The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs was last night providing assistance to the man's family in Ireland.

Police in South Africa said the elderly man had admitted shooting the couple after a row on Monday night.

He is understood to have called the police yesterday morning and informed them of the deaths.

Local police captain Manaka Raphulu said the man was arrested at the home in Alberton.

"When officers arrived at the scene they discovered the body of the man's daughter and her husband lying on the bedroom floor," he said.

"The man had been shot in the back and the woman had been shot in the head.

"Her father informed the officers that he had carried out the killings and his firearms were confiscated.

"He was arrested and is being held in custody."

South Africa has one of highest murder rates in the world with an average of 50 killings a day.

Detectives were last night investigating the scene of the crime, which happened on a quiet suburban street.

The suspected killer was charged yesterday with two counts of murder.

Officials said he had talked freely about the murders when questioned by police.

"He seemed pretty calm and confessed straight away to what happened," Captain Raphulu said.

"His firearm was fully licensed and he was allowed to hold it at his home. So far he has given no indication of why he committed this act.

"However, he has been charged with the murders and will appear in court as soon as possible.

"So far we know little about the victims, except that they were man and wife and that they lived with her father.

"Clearly there was some sort of dispute between them, but at the moment it is too soon to speculate about a possible motive for their murders," he added.

The suspected killer, who has not been named, is due to appear before a magistrate later this week.

A spokesman for the Irish embassy in Pretoria confirmed officials were aware of the tragedy.

"We are aware that an Irish citizen has been killed in South Africa, but are unable to confirm any further details at this stage. We are providing consular assistance," the spokes- man said.

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