In June 2018, 32-year-old Semra Aysal and 40-year-old Hakan Aysal, her husband, were on vacation. It should have been a lovely trip for the couple, a sort of babymoon, as they were expecting their first child in the next few months.
The two posed for a selfie in a breathtakingly precarious spot — as many who take selfies do — on the cliffs of the Butterfly Valley in Mugla, Turkey, and afterward, Semra slipped and fell 1,000 feet to her death.
It was a terrible accident that claimed the life of his wife and unborn child — or so Hakan said.
“After taking a photo, my wife put the phone in her bag,” he claimed, according to the Mirror.
“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.”
As authorities looked into the situation, red flag after red flag started popping up.
Apparently, some time prior to Semra’s death, Hakan had taken out a personal accident insurance policy worth around $29,000.
The indictment stated that Hakan “planned the murder of his wife by first taking out a personal accident insurance on her behalf with a guarantee of 400,000 Turkish Lira (£40,865) and where the only beneficiary was himself.”
Hakan claimed the full amount a short while after Semra’s passing — but once the insurance company heard about the investigation, they denied the claim.
“I have been interested in extreme sports since 2014; parachute, bungee jumping, rafting,” Hakan allegedly explained, according to the Mirror. “That is why I had life insurance before I got married.”
“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.”
“My sister was always against taking out loans,” Semra’s brother Naim Yolcu countered. “However, after she died, we learned that she had three loans taken by Hakan on behalf of my sister.”
Prosecutors claimed that Hakan waited on the cliff for hours, waiting for the right moment when no one else was around to commit his heinous crime — but people still noticed his odd behavior, and one onlooker came forward with footage of the couple from before Semra perished.
WARNING: The following video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.
“I stopped there to see the view of Kabak Bay with my family,” said Recep Sahin, who attended a hearing to tell what he observed, according to the Mirror.
“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.’ There was no interaction between them.”
Another witness who helped search for Semra after she fell described Hakan’s behavior as “carefree and calm.”
“He was not acting like a man whose wife just had fallen off a cliff,” he said.
Yolcu also noted Hakan’s strange behavior, saying when they went to retrieve Semra’s body, Hakan was acting as though nothing had happened.
“When we went to the Forensic Medicine Institute to get the body, Hakan was sitting in the car,” he said. “My family and I were destroyed, but Hakan did not even appear sad.”
Hakan was charged with deliberate murder, and on Feb. 15, his fate was decided: He was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment and will not be eligible for parole for at least 30 years.