Bloody axe used in Van Breda murders only swabbed 3 times

2017-06-07 20:25
Henri van Breda (File, Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda (File, Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The axe used in the brutal murders of Martin, Teresa and Rudi van Breda was covered in numerous spatters of blood, but only checked at three points, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Warrant Officer Andre Hitchcock - who collected evidence from 12 Goske Street, De Zalze for three weeks following the axe attack on January 27, 2015 – testified that he took a swab of the handle, the blade and the butt of the axe to be sent for DNA testing.

Advocate Pieter Botha, for accused Henri van Breda, pointed out that, on the wooden section alone, there were a variety of blood spatters, not necessarily from one person.

He asked Hitchcock if he had taken a swab from one droplet, or across a section of the axe.

Hitchcock said he couldn’t recall exactly how he collected the sample.

The axe was initially sent to the police’s forensics lab for touch DNA testing, which identifies epithelial cells.

Blood swabs

Once this was completed, it was returned to Hitchcock at his offices in Worcester, where he tested it for fingerprints and did the blood swabs.

The knife used in the attack was also retrieved, partially under the bed, in the room where Martin and Rudi’s bodies were found.

Hitchcock told the court that he had retrieved it and placed it on the bed, where he took his swab.

Botha questioned why he had put it on the bed, which would probably have had epithelial cells on it which could get transferred onto the exhibit, asking if it may affect the outcome of the test.

Hitchcock conceded that it could.

The knife also had a number of blood droplets on the blade.

Botha asked him which droplet he had swabbed, and Hitchcock said he couldn't say.


Van Breda, 22, pleaded not guilty to axing his parents and brother to death, seriously injuring his sister, and defeating the ends of justice.

He alleges an intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothes was behind the attack two years ago. He also said that he had heard other voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their home in the luxury Stellenbosch Estate.

Van Breda claimed that after a fight with the axe-wielding intruder, the man had escaped.

Hitchcock last week testified that he had collected more samples at the Van Breda's De Zalze home than he had at any crime scene in his entire career.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

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

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