#VanBreda crime scene was 'unusually neat' for a break-in
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Cape Town – A crime-scene investigator spent three weeks combing the multimillion-rand De Zalze Golf Estate house where members of the Van Breda family were murdered in 2015.
The house in Stellenbosch, reported to have since sold for R5.8 million, was so large that Warrant Officer Andrè Hitchcock also had a colleague to help him collect evidence, which included DNA swabs.
Hitchcock, who on Thursday testified in Henri van Breda’s triple-murder trial, said he left Worcester when he got a call to be at the crime scene.
He said the first thing he did was to take video footage of the house, which was still untouched after the attacks.
He then photographed everything that could potentially be used as evidence.
Once he had done this, he then placed orange cones at certain points where he would collect evidence, and photographed these as well.
Hitchcock also took several DNA swabs, including from the shower handle, the shower floor, a cupboard in the family’s study and the axe found on the stairs.
“Because it was a big (crime) scene, a colleague went with me,” Hitchcock said.
The house was also left relatively neat after the attack, Hitchcock said, adding that this was unusual after a break-in, which is what Van Breda claimed had happened.
Hitchcock, who had 22 years’ experience in forensics and had attended thousands of cases, said usually during a break-in drawers are tossed about as robbers search for valuables.
Hitchcock’s cross-examination continues on Monday when the trial is expected to re-commence.
Earlier in the day, Judge Siraj Desai ruled that an initial statement Van Breda made to the police may be presented as evidence in court.
The admissibility was previously challenged by Van Breda’s legal representative, Pieter Botha, who argued it had been taken when his client was treated as a suspect and therefore had the right to remain silent.
Judge Desai said he would provide reasons at a later stage as to why he allowed the statement to be admitted.
Van Breda, 22, has been charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of defeating the ends of justice after his mother Teresa, 55, father Martin, 54, and brother Rudi, 22, were killed with an axe.
His sister Marli, 16 at the time of the attack, survived a physical assaul.
He has pleaded not guilty.