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Triple murder rocks Gqeberha family

Three people including a toddler were killed in a bloody triple murder in Gqeberha's gang-ridden Helenvale on Tuesday night.

The murders are seemingly linked to a murder trial that started in the city's High Court on Tuesday, against an alleged member of the New Kids Gang Claudio Calvert.

The deceased are all family members of a woman who was set to testify in court against Calvert on Wednesday morning.

The woman, who is currently six months pregnant, survived the attack as she did not spend the night at home out of fear for her safety.

Her mother, Ellen Hutchinson, 50, her three-year-old nephew Emilio Hutchinson, and a family friend, Claudeo Thomas, 44, were gunned down and died at the scene.

Ellen's 13-year-old daughter and her 19-year-old son were wounded in the foot and shoulder and admitted to a hospital.

Traumatised family, friends, and neighbors, were still scrubbing the deceased's blood off the floor inside the house in Pienaar Street when Algoa FM News arrived.

They relayed the story of how three gunmen stormed the house, broke down the front door, and fired more than ten gunshots into the house.

When the screams and the gunshots went silent, the bodies of the deceased lay strewn inside the house and the injured wailed in pain.

Ellen's daughter and the witness' sister, Mary-Ann Hutchinson battled to bite back tears as she recalled the ordeal.

She said everyone inside the house had been asleep when they heard someone bashing down the front door.

According to Mary-Ann, her mother, and her brother got up to investigate.

"The shooters did not say a single word. After they broke down the door they started firing shots into the house.

"My mother yelled and pushed everyone aside in a bid to protect us from getting hurt, but it was already too late."

Mary-Ann said by the time her mother fell to the ground the gunmen had disappeared.

The family believes that the shooting is linked to the fact that their sister is a witness in the murder trial against Calvert.

On Tuesday, Calvert was charged with the murder of Cameron Rayston Daniels in Baatjies Street in Helenvale on 15 July 2022.

The murder happened near the Helenvale Resource Centre, which is a stone's throw from the Hutchinson's front yard.

Calvert pleaded not guilty on a charge of murder, the possession of an unlicensed firearm, and the illegal possession of ammunition.

Mary-Ann said her sister was terrified of testifying against Calvert, but a local pastor had convinced her that it was the right thing to do.

"For an extended period, she was in the witness protection programme, but she returned home in December.

"She expressed her desire to return to the programme. She feared for her life."

A neighbour who did not want to be named said gangsters in the area are constantly terrorising those individuals who want to make an honest living.

"They are armed and dangerous and they have no respect for other's lives.

"While we know that we have a moral obligation to assist police in fighting the scourge, many people are scared because they could come and kill you at any time."

A family friend said she was convinced that the murders occurred to send a message to the family that they should back off.

"Living in this neighbourhood is not for the faint-hearted."

When news of the shooting reached the Gqeberha High Court, the case against Calvert was postponed to 26 April.

He is in custody pending the finalisation of his trial.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the motive for the murders is still under investigation.

Cases of murder and attempted murder are under investigation by members of the Provincial Anti-Gang Investigation Unit.

Any person who can assist police with information relating to the murders may contact Detective Warrant Officer Neville Gouws at 082 387 5904 or alternatively 08600 10111.