Triple murder accused Henri van Breda in the dock at the Western Cape High Court, accused of killing his parents and brother and injuring his sister at their home in Stellenbosch in 2015. Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA Pictures
Cape Town – The first paramedic to arrive at the house where four members of the Van Breda family had been butchered with an axe told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday the crime scene was the worst he had seen in his 39-year career.

Recently retired, Christiaan Koegelenberg testified that around 7.40am he and a colleague arrived at the De Zalze Estate and found Henri van Breda sitting on the stoep.

Police were already at the scene, and an officer had warned Koegelenberg that what he was about to see was serious, he testified.

Koegelenberg then went upstairs, entered a room and found two people bludgeoned.

He immediately saw that one of the victims – Marli van Breda – was still breathing.

Marli, who was 16 at the time, was taken to hospital by ambulance.

In another room, his colleague said both people were dead and when they removed one body, blood ran down the stairs “like a waterfall”. “It was the worst thing I had ever seen,” Koegelenberg said.

He testified that he did not treat Van Breda.

While this was being heard, Van Breda seemed disengaged. He was looking around, including at the media.

The testimony followed Van Breda’s legal team presenting camera footage evidence that showed at least three vehicles had entered the premises of the secured estate unrecorded by security on the morning the crimes were reported.

Advocate Pieter Botha presented camera footage that showed at 4.16am on January 27, 2015, the day the crimes were reported, a bus passed the entrance – without being registered at the security checkpoint.

Three minutes later, a minibus taxi also entered and it appeared that the number plate was captured by security staff, but there was no record of it in the register.

At 4.29am, another car was seen entering the gate without the driver’s details being captured.

“I’m not saying this is a bus or taxi full of murderers, but your record shows no signs of these ever having entered the premises,” Botha told a State witness, De Zalze Estate security manager, Marcia Rossouw.

The footage also showed the camera would have a glitch every few seconds and was unable to play an uninterrupted picture.

“It should not have been like that,” Botha said.

Rossouw said: “I can’t say why that is so, there must be an explanation. I will investigate. We are dealing with the human element.”

Botha then proceeded to show camera footage where a buck is seen on one side of the electric fence and later, there is a buck on the other side.

Botha put it to Rossouw that although they could not be sure whether it was the same buck, if it was, it had managed to cross the fence without triggering any alarm.

Judge Siraj Desai interjected that it was speculation.

Van Breda’s mother Teresa, 55, father Martin, 54, and brother Rudi, 22, were attacked and slain with an axe.

Van Breda, 21, has been charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of defeating the ends of justice, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Marli van Breda, survived. She now suffers from retrograde amnesia.

In a plea explanation, Van Breda said that an attacker wearing a balaclava broke into the family home that night and committed the crimes.

The trial continues.

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Cape Times