Cape Town The survivors of one of the most intriguing crimes to have rocked the country, Marli and Henri van Breda, now have regular contact with one another nearly a year after the unsolved tragedy unfolded.
This is a far cry from the months following the triple axe murder, which saw Martin van Breda, 55, his wife Teresa, 54, and their eldest child Rudi, 22, killed in their upmarket home at the De Zalze golf estate in Stellenbosch on January 27 last year.
Despite Wednesday marking a year since the murders, no arrests have been made.
Marli, 17, who suffered an axe wound to the head and a severed jugular, was first in intensive care in hospital and then in a rehabilitation facility because of the severity of her injuries.
She was later placed in the care of relatives.
In May last year it emerged that Marli had yet to see Henri, 21, the only member of the family to have escaped the attack with minor injuries.
This week Marli’s curator, advocate Louise Buikman SC, who the Western Cape High Court has ordered to speak on her behalf, said the teen was doing “very well”.
The situation regarding Henri had changed.
“Marli has started school again this year. She is back with her friends and enjoys school. She has regular contact with her brother, Henri,” Buikman said.
She described Marli’s recovery as phenomenal.
“Her recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, given the extent and severity of the injuries she sustained.
“She is very well physically. Mentally, she is also coping remarkably well.”
Marli was suffering from retrograde amnesia and Buikman said this affected her recollection of what had happened to her family.
“It is extremely unlikely she will ever recall the event.”
Buikman said the media sometimes distressed Marli, especially when outlets sought to publish personal information about her.
“The press conveniently seems to forget that Marli is a victim of a crime, and a potential witness in criminal proceedings.
“In terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, her identity should never have been disclosed in the press. Details about her private life and her whereabouts are not in the public interest,” she said.
This week, the Van Breda family’s spokesman Ben Rootman said they did not want to comment on the matter at this stage. “The investigation is in the hands of the SAPS and they should be allowed to do their work without interruptions to ensure that the law takes its course,” he said.
Police have consistently refused to publicly divulge details surrounding the murders.
This week, police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said: “In so far as the Van Breda murder case is concerned, our investigators have given it due attention.
“The case was also monitored by provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that have yet to be presented before a court of law,” Traut said.
Boet Grobler, De Zalze’s estate manager, told the Saturday Star that, despite a year having lapsed, some residents were still rattled by the triple killings. “We’re concerned that we don’t get any updates from the SAPS.”
Grobler explained that the estate had CCTV cameras, but not between the homes as this might mean invading the residents’ privacy.
He did not want to disclose whether any evidence from the estate was handed over to police for their probe, but said those at the estate had co-operated fully with investigators.
Meanwhile, one of the most crucial sets of documents in the triple murder, the docket, has been channelled back and forth between prosecuting officials and police investigators who were repeatedly told to dig even deeper into the case.
The docket is with the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision on whether anyone will be arrested.