News / South Africa

Catherine Rice
3 minute read
12 Feb 2018
12:50 pm

State delivers closing arguments in Van Breda trial

Catherine Rice

The state has argued that all the Van Breda family members had similar wounds inflicted by the alleged murder weapon, but Henri's wounds were 'superficial'.

Senior state prosecutor Susan Galloway told the Western Cape High Court on Monday that it was 23-year-old Henri van Breda and not an intruder or intruders behind the vicious attacks on his family.

In closing arguments, Galloway said the axe attacks on his parents, Martin and Teresa, and his siblings, Rudi and Marli, were inflicted with the intention to kill and the fact that Marli, who was 16-years-old at the time, survived was “not indicative of a lesser attack, but rather a miracle”.

Galloway detailed the security at the upmarket estate De Zalze in Stellenbosch where the vicious axe attacks took place on January 27, 2015.

Despite the fact that the estate was manned by security guards, had cameras on its perimeter, and three manned access points, Van Breda opted to call emergency services at 07h12 the morning, at least two hours and forty minutes after the attacks.

His first phone call had been to his girlfriend Bianca at 04h24, “a sixteen-year-old minor who lived in a hostel”.

Furthermore, during the more than two hour time lapse, he did not try and help his siblings, who were still alive at that stage, according to evidence during the trial. Instead of comforting them, “he chose to smoke three cigarettes”.

Galloway argued that all the family members had similar wounds inflicted by the alleged murder weapon, but the accused presented with only “superficial injuries on his torso, left arm and back”.

She said both Teresa and Marli were found in close proximity to the room that Rudi and Henri shared. Rudi and father Martin were found in that bedroom and a knife, also used in the attack, was found partially hidden under Rudi’s bed.

Galloway said there was no evidence of forced entry, nor was there evidence of a “hit” on the family. Evidence by Martin’s brother during the trial indicated that he was an honest businessman with no enemies.

The two murder weapons were found on the scene, and according to evidence from the family’s domestic worker, belonged to the family.

She said that the attack on Rudi had been the most violent and that he had suffered the most injuries which fitted in with police evidence that it was a “rage attack”.

The only two people who had no self defensive wounds were Henri himself and his father Martin. This, Galloway, said could be explained by evidence that the attack on the father was a “surprise” one, and that he had moved to protect his son.

Henri’s wounds, however, were superficial and “self-inflicted”.

She said 12 Goske street was surrounded by other houses and “an intruder or intruders who would have gained access would have had to move past undetected past a number of other houses both coming and going”.

Yet there was “no breach of the perimeter, and nothing suspicious was noted”.

No visible valuables were taken from the scene and this “was not consistent with a house robbery or armed robbery”.

She said none of the victims made an attempt to hide or call for help: “That is because the attacker was known to them.”

No foreign DNA was found on the scene.

Galloway also detailed the evidence of the emergency services call operator who testified that Van Breda lacked emotion during the call: “His demeanour was so unusual, the operator thought it was a prank.”

– African News Agency (ANA)


Final arguments set to begin in the trial of triple-murder accused Van Breda

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