Why would an assailant tease Henri with superficial wounds? - specialist

2017-05-23 16:36
Henri van Breda is charged with multiple counts of murder. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda is charged with multiple counts of murder. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - One would instinctively pull away when attacked by an assailant and not allow linear cuts to be made, a specialist in clinical forensic pathology told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

But Henri Van Breda's cut wounds were regular and equal depth, uniform and parallel, Dr Marianne Tiemensma testified.

"Why would you allow [your assailant] to make exactly the same cut at the same place? These are completely horizontal; fine and delicate movements," she said.

"Why would you allow a person to do it? It's very unusual and unlikely, [especially if] there was movement."

According to the triple-murder accused's version of what happened in his family's De Zalze Estate home on January 27 2015, he had fought with a masked intruder that morning after the assailant had attacked them with an axe.

AS IT HAPPENED: Henri's wounds scrutinised by doctor

Self-inflicted wounds

Tiemensma explained that two people faced each other in the bedroom with sharp objects in their hands and there was movement as they pushed and pulled at each other.

"Holding on to each other's arms would make it difficult to execute a very uniform incision to another person's body. One would expect the wounds to go in different directions if a person pulls away."

She asked why the intruder would "tease" him with superficial wounds.

Tiemensma said Van Breda's injuries were a strong contrast in comparison to those of his family.

"They had extensive chop wounds caused by an axe. [His injuries don't] show any characteristics that it was inflicted with the same type of intent or force."

Self-inflicted wounds are usually found on the chest, abdomen, arms or hands, generally in reachable and accessible areas, and a number of factors are taken into consideration before the likelihood of this being the case is determined, Tiemensma testified.

She said she came to the conclusion of Van Breda's wounds being self-inflicted after noting that the injuries were superficial and non-fatal, with the only danger to life being if it became infected.

They had regular and equal depth, were uniform, linear, and showed no movement.

Last week, she testified that Van Breda's wounds were superficial and typical of self-inflicted injuries. The only injuries he was unlikely to have caused were those on his head, back, and leg, she said.

The 22-year-old is on trial on charges of murdering his parents Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and brother Rudi, 22, with an axe, attempting to murder his younger sister Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty, claiming that a balaclava-clad man attacked the family and then escaped.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Read more on:    henri van breda  |  cape town  |  crime  |  van breda murders

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