De Zalze: 10 things you have to know

2017-08-07 13:09
PHOTO: Corrie Hansen

PHOTO: Corrie Hansen

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It’s been more than two years since the Van Breda family were gruesomely murdered in their home.

Henri van Breda once again appears in the Western Cape Town High Court on Monday, 7 August 2017, where he stands accused of the axe-murders, in which three people lost their lives and a fourth miraculously survived the attack.

Here are 10 things about the victims, the accused and the trial:

1. THE FAMILY The Van Breda family moved back to South Africa from Perth, Australia, in 2014. They made De Zalze, a luxurious golf estate just outside of Stellenbosch, their home.

2. MARTIN VAN BREDA (54) He was an extremely successful businessman and director of at least 25 companies. According to reports, he was the founder of Netstar, which he would have sold to Altech. He developed Woodhill College, a private school in Pretoria that was bought by Curro Holdings for a whopping R185 million in 2011. Martin owned the Australian subsidiary of the international property group Engel & Völkers.

3. TERESA VAN BREDA (55) Teresa studied IT at the Rand Afrikaans University, now known as the University of Johannesburg. She’s described by countless friends and acquaintances as a ‘lovely person’. Shortly before the brutal murder, she was excited about a trip to Italy, where she would have attended a cooking course, a source close to the Van Breda family revealed.

4. RUDI VAN BREDA (22) The popular young man was doing his master’s degree in engineering at the University of Melbourne. His friends described him as ‘warm, kind and unique’. One of his friends, Sam Fearon, wrote a special song for Rudi.

5. MARLI VAN BREDA (THEN 16) She sustained brain injuries during the attack, after her aorta was cut off by an axe. At first, she couldn’t remember anything of that fateful night’s happenings.

It would be five months before she returned to school. In October 2016, with Marli’s 18th birthday, the Western Cape Town High Court ruled that she would spend another year under the watchful eye of a curator.

The curator, advocate Louise Beukman, is tasked with the responsibility to protect Marli from the media and help make decisions regarding her education.

“Before the end of January 2018, I will submit another report about Marli’s progress to the high court, to determine whether she still requires a curator to support her,” she added.

6. HENRI VAN BREDA (THEN 20) Henri was the middle child of the Van Breda children. In February 2016, he enrolled as a student at the Capsicum Culinary Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. On 13 June 2016, he handed himself over at the Stellenbosch police office and appeared in the local magistrate’s court the following day. He appeared on three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and another on obstruction of Justice. Bail of R100 000 was granted.

7. HIGH COURT The case gets transferred to the Western Cape High Court. Henri appeared in court for the first time on 9 September 2016, but the case was postponed due to outstanding forensic reports. Another few postponements followed and the trial eventually commenced on 23 April 2017.

8. TRIAL WITHIN A TRIAL After a lengthy trial within a trial, Judge Siraj Desai ruled on 1 June 2017 that the media may publish the autopsy reports and that Henri’s statement may be used as evidence. 9. THE ‘LAUGHING ATTACKER’ In the statement Henri gave on 27 January 2015, he said he heard how his mother was attacked. He described the attacker as a well-built ‘laughing’ attacker, who looked him in the eye before he attacked Henri with the axe.

10. THE AIRPLANE For the duration of his trial, Henri wore a pin on the lapel of his blazer – a silver airplane. According to his legal team, it was a gift from his girlfriend, Danielle Janse van Rensburg, which he wears because it’s ‘beautiful and he likes it’.

Read more on:    van breda trial  |  van breda murders

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