Sasha, the family's dog, would not have barked at intruders, the court heard in the trial of triple murder accused Henri van Breda. Picture: Catherine Rice/ANA

Cape Town - Sasha, the family's pet dog, would not have barked at intruders, the Western Cape High Court heard in the trial of 23-year-old triple murder accused Henri van Breda, on Thursday.

During cross-examination Van Breda told the court that she was the "opposite of a guard dog" and did not bark at strange sounds.

Senior state prosecutor Susan Galloway pointed out that the family dog, according to evidence heard earlier in the trial, would, however, bark at domestic worker Precious Munyongani when she arrived at the Van Breda home in the security estate De Zalze in Stellenbosch. 

Van Breda explained that was because Precious played with her and she barked at sounds she "found exciting".

He said he could not recall hearing the dog bark on the night at least one attacker entered his house and murdered his parents, older brother and attempted to murder his younger sister, Marli.

According to his version, he lost consciousness after the attackers fled, but could not recall hearing the dog barking before that.

Henri van Breda has pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder, one of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.

He claims his father, mother and older brother were murdered by a laughing, axe-wielding intruder at the family’s upmarket home on 27 January 2015. His sister, Marli, who was 16 years old at the time, survived the attack.

The State alleges that Henri committed the killings and that his wounds were self-inflicted in a bid to make it look like he too was a victim.

Galloway said on Thursday that she found it strange that if there had been more than one attacker, as stated in Van Breda's plea explanation, only one moved to the upper level of the house where the family was sleeping.

She asked: "At no stage did the attacker call for help?" "No," Van Breda replied. This, despite father Martin Van Breda rushing into the boys' bedroom when brother Rudi was being attacked. 

She said the other intruders could have cleaned out the bottom of the house, yet nothing was taken.

"Isn't it strange then they go to all the trouble of getting into your house, take out your family, except for you, and then not take a thing, a cellphone, your mom's handbag?"

Van Breda agreed it was strange, unless he "interrupted them".

But Galloway told the court that police officers who attended the scene were of the view that the house was "very neat" and didn't look like a house that had been broken into.

She said Captain Nicholas Steyn had been called to the house because of Van Breda's description of the balaclava-clad intruder. Steyn was investigating the balaclava gang that had been behind a spate of burglaries of homes in the area at the time.

He testified earlier in the trial that the Van Breda home did not have any signs of forced entry, nor was it turned upside down as in most house robberies.

Galloway said despite a cupboard and drawers being open in the father's study downstairs nothing appeared to be in disarray. "It also doesn't seem like someone scratched around in the drawer."

Van Breda told the court that after the intruders fled he did not search the house to see if any them had remained behind.

When asked if he was scared they might still be there, he replied: "No, I was recovering from a large amount of trauma."

The trial was adjourned to Monday.