Henri van Breda found guilty of family axe murders
Henri van Breda has been found guilty of three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Van Breda stood accused of killing his parents and older brother, and maiming his younger sister in an attack at their Stellenbosch home in January 2015.
The court found that van Breda had sufficient time to tamper with the crime scene and portray himself as a victim.
Judge Siraj Desai handed down judgment in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.
He found that there was no credible evidence that an intruder entered the estate on the night of murders.
Desai says van Breda’s wounds appeared to be similar to those in textbooks of self-injuries.
He says it is unlikely that a supposed intruder would fortuitously bring a similar axe to the one kept in the Van Breda family home.
Desai made several findings and flagged inconsistencies relating to the crime scene, the sequence of events, the demeanor of the accused, the extent of his injuries and more.
It seems odd that a killer could wipe out an entire family and leave one person.Judge Siraj Desai
The accused displayed a peculiar lack of empathy towards the victims.Judge Siraj Desai
The court has no reason to reject the evidence of the State witnesses. I find their evidence to be most reliable.Judge Siraj Desai
Van Breda will be detained in the hospital section of Pollsmoor prison, provided he can provide a medical certificate to independently verify his chronic epilepsy.
Sentencing proceedings will take place on 5 June.
Desai: The accused was unimpressive as a witness. He started off as confident. He attempted to alter his answers very subtly & contradicted himself. MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
Desai: If the court accepts that some of the injuries on the accused is self-inflicted, the credibility of the accused is significantly affected. MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
Desai finds there’s a striking similarity between appearance of #VanBreda’s wounds and textbook descriptions of self-inflicted injuries. MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
#VanBreda Desai: The attack on the presumably sleeping family members had to have been planned. MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
#VanBreda Desai on the 2 hours & 45 minutes VB claims he blacked out, asks: “What transpired during that period of time? When he allegedly lost consciousness.” MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
#VanBreda Desai describes VB’s call to emergency services as “inconsistent as being a victim of a crime who has lost most of his family members.” MM— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 21, 2018
Visit the EWN special feature for more on the timeline of events in the trial.
Take a listen to EWN's Monique Mortlock report from the court:
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