Husband who 'pushed wife to her death' was calm when he sought help from a motorist, trial hears


A man accused of pushing his pregnant wife off a cliff after taking a selfie was completely calm when he flagged down a passing motorist for help after the incident, a court has heard.

The motorist was giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of Hakan Aysal, 40, who is accused of killing his wife Semra Aysal, 32, and their unborn child for life insurance money.

The couple had been visiting the Butterfly Valley in their native Turkey in June 2018 when Semra, who was seven months pregnant, fell some 300 metres to her death.

Sait Erturk, the driver who was flagged down by Hakan, told the Fetihye High Criminal Court that he was surprised at the man’s apparent lack of concern.

‘I was driving there and 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 care and started looking for her, but we couldn’t see where she would have landed from where we were.

‘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 had just fallen off a cliff,’ Erturk said.

A man accused of pushing his pregnant wife off a cliff after taking a selfie was completely calm when he flagged down a passing motorist for help after the incident, a court has heard. The motorist was giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of Hakan Aysal (left), 40, who is accused of killing his wife Semra Aysal (right), 32, and their unborn child for life insurance money

A man accused of pushing his pregnant wife off a cliff after taking a selfie was completely calm when he flagged down a passing motorist for help after the incident, a court has heard. The motorist was giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of Hakan Aysal (left), 40, who is accused of killing his wife Semra Aysal (right), 32, and their unborn child for life insurance money

Another witness, Recep Sahin, whose daughter filmed the video where Semra was seen for the last time on the cliff just moments before her death, also took the stand.

He told the court that he had stopped at the beauty spot ‘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.”‘

The witnesses both added that the defendant appeared very calm in the moments after the incident while emergency services were on the scene.

The couple had been visiting the Butterfly Valley in their native Turkey in June 2018 when Semra, who was seven months pregnant, fell some 300 metres to her death

The couple had been visiting the Butterfly Valley in their native Turkey in June 2018 when Semra, who was seven months pregnant, fell some 300 metres to her death

Hakan is charged with ‘deliberate murder’ over his wife’s death, which the indictment against him said he had planned, having taken out personal accident insurance worth £40,865 on Semra’s behalf before her death. He was the sole beneficiary.

On the day of Semra’s death, another witness captured the moment her husband appeared to be almost dragging her over to the edge of the cliff, where they remained for three hours.

Prosecutors said this was at Hakan’s instance while he waited to make sure they were alone before pushing Semra.

The indictment also noted that Hakan claimed the insurance payout a short while after his wife’s death but it was declined when the investigation was announced. 

Hakan (pictured in background) is charged with 'deliberate murder' over his wife's death, which the indictment against him said he had planned, having taken out personal accident insurance worth £40,865 on Semra's behalf before her death. He was the sole beneficiary

Hakan (pictured in background) is charged with ‘deliberate murder’ over his wife’s death, which the indictment against him said he had planned, having taken out personal accident insurance worth £40,865 on Semra’s behalf before her death. He was the sole beneficiary

In February, the court heard from the victim’s brother, Naim Yolcu, in a video interview. 

‘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, adding that he did not see Hakan cry. 

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

‘Also, Semra had a fear of heights, what extreme sport is she going to be doing when she is scared of heights?,’ Yolcu said, referring to an earlier comment made by Hakan.

Local news outlet NTV reported that bank statements requested by the court showed that Hakan had taken out seven loans on Semra’s behalf.

Hakan was absent from the hearing this week due to being quarantined for Covid-19. 

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

Hakan (left) has denied responsibility for Semra's death, he explained her fall by saying: 'After taking a photo, my wife put her phone in her bag. Later, she asked me to give her the phone. I got up and then I heard my wife scream behind my when I walked a few steps away to get the bag. 'When I turned back, she was not there. I did not push my wife'

Hakan (left) has denied responsibility for Semra’s death, he explained her fall by saying: ‘After taking a photo, my wife put her phone in her bag. Later, she asked me to give her the phone. I got up and then I heard my wife scream behind my when I walked a few steps away to get the bag. ‘When I turned back, she was not there. I did not push my wife’

‘I did not examine the policy much,’ Hakan said when asked about an article in the personal accident insurance that named him as the sole benefactor in the case of Semra’s death and his family as the benefactors should they both die. 

‘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 said.

Hakan has denied responsibility for Semra’s death, he explained her fall by saying:

‘After taking a photo, my wife put her phone in her bag. Later, she asked me to give her the phone. I got up and then I heard my wife scream behind my when I walked a few steps away to get the bag.

‘When I turned back, she was not there. I did not push my wife.’  

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 trial continues. 

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