Van Breda killings: what happened that night
Cape Town -
Court papers say that Henri van Breda cut himself with a knife after he axed his parents and older brother to death and attempted to kill his teenage sister.
The attack happened at their secure home at the luxury De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate on January 26 last year.
Medical experts indicate that the 21-year-old exhibited “self-inflicted” wounds made by a knife.
Van Breda made his first appearance before Magistrate Lungelo Juma at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where he was granted R100 000 bail.
He has been charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and obstructing the ends of justice for lying to police and tampering with evidence.
Van Breda handed himself over to police on the instruction of his defence attorney, Piet Botha, before police could arrest him on Monday.
Court papers contain evidence that could ensure a sentence of life imprisonment for Van Breda who is accused of slaughtering most of his family and attempting to kill his sister, Marli, 18, who might hold the key to unlocking the case.
Martin Christo van Breda, 54, his wife Teresa Jacoba van Breda, 56, and Rudi Martin van Breda, 22, were found dead in their home, which was guarded by high security systems and monitored around the clock.
Court papers say that neighbours heard raised voices coming from the Van Breda home early that morning.
The State says Van Breda made a call to his girlfriend at around 4.24am, which went unanswered. Three minutes later, Van Breda searched via Google for emergency numbers.
Three hours after his Google search, at 7.12am, did he make calls for emergency assistance.
Minutes after that, he called his girlfriend again.
Police were notified of the triple-murder at 7.15am and arrived on scene where emergency services declared Van Breda’s parents and brother dead. Marli, who was also attacked with the axe that killed her parents, was fighting for her life.
Extensive surgery and further medical treatment saved her life.
Police recovered an axe and a kitchen knife at the scene. They both came from the Van Bredas’ house.
When police arrived, Van Breda was dressed in a pair of sleep shorts and white socks covered in blood. Police matched the DNA found on his clothes to his parents and brother.
The court papers say there were no signs of forced entry and no items were removed that could have suggested robbery.
The court papers read: “It is believed that after the commission of the crimes, the accused tampered with the crime scene, inflicted injuries to his person and supplied false information to the police in order to mislead police as to the true identity of the perpetrator.”
Before the case was transferred to the Western Cape High Court for a pre-trail hearing in September, Magistrate Juma imposed several bail conditions on Van Breda. Among them were that his passports remain in the possession of the police, that he hands over other travel documents and that he may not leave the Western Cape.
He may not come within 500 metres of any international port of entry, he is to report to Parow Police Station every Monday and Friday before 8pm, and he may not make contact or communicate with any of the State’s witnesses.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the State had a “watertight case”.
He said police only arrested Henri after enough evidence was secured, 18 months after the attack.
“We are aware of the fact that some people think that we might have taken too long. We made sure we had enough evidence to take the case to court,” he said.
Ntabazalila would not confirm or deny whether Marli was one of the witnesses the State would call when the case goes to trial later this year.