Triple murder accused, Henri van Breda, 22, was set to testify in his own defence on Monday, October 30. Photo: Catherine Rice / ANA

Cape Town - Twenty-two-year-old Henri van Breda appeared nervous, drumming his fingers continuously, as court proceedings began in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Defence lawyer Piet Botha told the court that he would be calling no further witnesses, but that his client "wishes to testify". 

Botha requested that Judge Siraj Desai rule that his testimony not be streamed live.

"My client suffers from a speech impediment, his stutter gets worse under pressure. He also has a tendency to mutter at times which is part of the speech impediment. We are concerned about the live broadcast as it will be a stressful period for him in the witness box." 

Botha said he had it "fairly under control" but asked the court to take this into account when assessing his demeanour.

Judge Desai adjourned proceedings for half an hour saying it was an "unusual request" and he needed time to consider it before he makes a decision.

Van Breda faces three counts of murder for the axe attacks on his parents and brother at their family home in the luxury estate de Zalze in Stellenbosch in January 2015.

He also faces a charge of attempted murder after his sister Marli, who was 16-years-old at the time, survived the attack. He further faces a charge of defeating the ends of justice. 

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and claims a laughing, axe-wielding intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothing was behind the attacks. 

In his plea explanation, he also claimed there may have been more than one intruder and that he heard Afrikaans being spoken during the attacks.