Defence expert can't explain absence of Marli's DNA on axe

2017-10-10 12:12
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 - A DNA expert testifying for Henri van Breda's defence says she cannot explain why axe attack survivor Marli van Breda's DNA profile would not be on the murder weapon.

Dr Antonel Olckers, in her testimony in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, said the touch DNA found on the axe handle was of a low-level type.

Previously, State witness blood spatter analysis expert Captain Marius Joubert said Marli had sustained separate lacerations, spread out over the head and neck, which wouldn't necessarily immediately bleed after being sustained.

He explained that different areas had been struck, making the possibility of blood transfer minimal, as the attacker had created new wounds every time they struck.

AS IT HAPPENED: Van Breda team battles State on DNA samples

He conceded that one would expect to find her blood on it, but qualified that the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".

Olckers said that while she was not a pathologist or blood spatter analyst, she couldn't explain why the teenager's DNA wasn't on the rest of the axe.

She testified that 128 of the 151 samples tested were not considered scientifically valid, as they did not follow standard operating procedures.

She only considered 23 of the samples to be usable.

The State is expected to cross-examine her on Monday, October 16.

Van Breda, 22, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his parents and brother, attempted murder of sister Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

He claimed that an intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothes was behind the attack, and that he had heard other voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch on the night.

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

The trial resumes on October 16.

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