Five things to know about the Henri van Breda axe murder case

Henri van Breda in court on Monday. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Henri van Breda in court on Monday. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 4, 2019


CAPE TOWN - In a last bid for freedom, convicted triple axe murderer Henri van Breda will apply on Tuesday at the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence. 

Here are five things to know about the case: 


In May last year Henri was convicted for the murders of his parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and his brother, Rudi, 22, and the attempted murder of his sister, Marli, at their De Zalze Golf estate home on January 27, 2015.


The luxury De Zalze home was sold after the murders for an estimated R5.8 million. 

Martin van Breda was the managing director of Engel & Völkers in Australia and was an exceptional businessman according to his brother.

“I can confidently say all his transactions were honest. No hidden agendas - his integrity wouldn't allow it," Martin's brother Andre van Breda told the court in May 2017. 

It was estimated that Marli inherited R200 million after the death of her family and the conviction of her brother. Her estate was placed under curatorship until she turns 21. At the time of the murder she was 16 years old. 

Her brother will receive nothing from the estate.


Precious Munyongani, the Van Breda’s domestic worker told the court in 2017 that the actual axe used by Henri was owned by the family. 

She said that she did recognised the axe and that it looked like an axe stored on a shelf in the pantry. 

Munyongani told the court that she could not remember if the family had ever used the axe.


From the very beginning of the investigation into the Van Breda murders a number of news outlets had reported that Henri had a "tik" addiction. 

According to reports Henri's motives for the murder may have been his allowance being cut off due to his addiction. 

It was also reported that he spent time at a prominent and expensive drug rehab centre in Loevenstein, Bellville.

After Henri was charged with his family's murder in June 2016 he was released on bail. He was then arrested in September 2016 with his girlfriend, Danielle Janse Van Rensburg for possession of cannabis. 


In April 2017 the trial against Henri van Breda began in the Western Cape High Court with him entering a not guilty plea. Throughout his trial Henri maintained that his family was attacked by "an axe-wielding black man". 

Judge Siraj Desai found Henri guilty on May 21, 2018. He was found guilty on three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Judge Desai sentenced Henri to three life terms in prison for the murder of his mother, father and brother. He received 15 years for the attempted murder of Marli and a further 12 months for obstruction of justice.

In early November 2018, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Henri's application for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence. 


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