Henri van Breda in court on Monday. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
HENRI van Breda spent his first night behind bars in the sectioned-off hospital quarters of the infamous Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, where he would have found himself surrounded by several men whose own trials have made headlines in recent months.

Guatemalan murder accused Diego Novella, who allegedly killed his American marketing executive girlfriend Gabriela Alban Kabrins, is also being held in the hospital section after his lawyer convinced the court that he was at risk of being assaulted in overcrowded prison cells.

Van Breda, convicted on Monday of the brutal axe murders of his family at their luxury Stellenbosch security estate in 2015, is also likely to run into Spanish dentist Mario Yela, who is accused of murdering his 3-year-old twins, in the hospital section.

The Western Cape High Court found 23-year-old Van Breda guilty on all five counts related to the murder of his parents, Martin and Teresa, and his brother Rudi, as well as the attempted murder of his sister, Marli, who was 16 at the time.

The final count related to a charge of defeating the ends of justice after the court found he had tampered with the crime scene, given police false information and had self-inflicted injuries to make it appear as though he was a victim himself.

Judge Siraj Desai rejected a plea from his defence counsel that his R100 000 bail be extended, saying: “You have been convicted of serious offences, the interests of society dictate that you should be incarcerated.”

Senior State prosecutor Susan Galloway, in arguing against his extended release on bail, told the court Van Breda was a flight risk as he was not employed and had a “strained relationship with his remaining family members”.

Judge Desai agreed to defence advocate Piet Botha’s request to have his client held in the hospital prison section, but said it was “a difficult decision to make”.

Botha said Van Breda was on anti-depressants and epilepsy medication, to which he needed access, but Judge Desai insisted medical certificates be handed in to Correctional Services.

On Monday, after a mammoth trial that spanned 66 days, Van Breda was found guilty of the murders which made international headlines, given that Martin van Breda was a prominent businessman with directorships in at least 25 companies, and had owned and run the Australian arm of renowned international property group Engel & Volkers.

The Van Breda family had lived in Perth in Western Australia for a number of years, and had returned home to South Africa in 2014, reportedly purchasing the house in the De Zalze Golf Estate in the name of Merwood Consultants for R4.6million.

Martin and Teresa, an IT expert, and Henri’s brother Rudi, were stabbed and bludgeoned to death with an axe on the night of January27, 2015, while 16-year-old Marli barely escaped with her life and was rendered unable to testify as a State witness because of retrograde amnesia. - African News Agency (ANA)