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Mother, son in dispute over family home die in apparent murder-suicide

Maurice Pirzenthal with police documents detailing his mother’s alleged misbehaviour. File photo
Maurice Pirzenthal with police documents detailing his mother’s alleged misbehaviour. File photo
Image: Mark West

A family dispute over a Port Elizabeth home took another twist at the weekend – this time resulting in what appears to be a murder-suicide.

Barbara Sturdy, 78, and her son, Maurice Pirzenthal, 50, had for years tried to force each other to leave, with alleged dirty tactics laid bare in court papers.

Earlier this year, the bitter six-year battle between the two over the Cotswold house ended when Pirzenthal was evicted – despite legally owning the property.

But at about 8.30pm on Sunday, an altercation allegedly broke out between the two while they were outside the Kanarie Street house.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said Pirzenthal then allegedly stabbed his mother and her daughter, Sandra Coetzee, in the neck.

“Sturdy succumbed to her injury at the scene while Coetzee was taken to hospital for treatment,” she said.

“Pirzenthal was found dead in his car in the garage. It is believed that he had gassed himself in the car.”

Police have opened an inquest docket and are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder.

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