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Van Breda 'emotionally triggered' by emergency call scrutinised in court

17 May 2017 3:13 PM
Emergency call centre agent Janine Philander testified that Henri van Breda sounded hesitant and giggled when he phoned for help.

An emergency call centre operator says she initially thought the call made by Henri van Breda, the morning following his family's axe murder, was a prank.

Janine Philander responded the call made by the triple murder accused on 27 January 2015.

LISTEN: Henri van Breda's call to emergency services: 'My family and I were attacked'

A recording of the emergency call was played in court on Wednesday, reports EWN's Shamiela Fisher.

There are claims that he was hesitant at the start of the call and that he giggled.

Shamiela Fisher, EWN reporter

Philander described hearing van Breda giggle and says he sounded hesitant when he made the call for an ambulance.

He was quite calm and cooperative, staying on the call that lasted for more than 26 minutes.

Shamiela Fisher, EWN reporter

However, the defence has argued that Philander has confused van Breda's sobs for giggles.

His lawyer also claims that van Breda was unusually calm during the call due to exercises he was taught from years of speech therapy for his stutter.

The 22-year-old faces three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of defeating the ends of justice.

He is accused of axing to death his parents and older brother at their home outside Stellenbosch in January 2015.

Van Breda was visibly emotional in court, as the emergency call was played back repeatedly, Fisher says.

We had to break briefly so that he could compose himself... We listened to it several times, it was played over and over again.

Shamiela Fisher, EWN reporter

Take a listen to the EWN update:


17 May 2017 3:13 PM