Henri 'calm' when telling detective of masked intruder, court hears

2017-05-11 19:08
Henri van Breda during an earlier court appearance. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda during an earlier court appearance. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Henri Van Breda appeared quiet and calm when he relayed his version of events to Captain Nicholas Steyn shortly after his family’s gruesome murder, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

The Stellenbosch police officer was the first one who heard Henri’s account on January 27, 2015, in which he claims a balaclava-clad intruder attacked his family.

Steyn, who was part of a task team established to investigate a spate of robberies by a balaclava gang, said Henri was in an ambulance when he spoke to him.

The then 20-year-old told the officer that he had been in the toilet in the early hours of the morning when he heard banging noises. He looked through a gap in the toilet door where he saw someone attacking his brother, Rudi.

Henri said his father had come into the room, Steyn recalled, and the suspect had attacked him.

His mother and sister then ostensibly came in and also fell victim to the intruder, whom Henri then confronted and disarmed.

He told the policeman that the man then stabbed him in his side with a knife and he had chased the intruder from the room and down the stairs.

Henri also said he had thrown the axe at the man but had missed and hit the wall. The suspect apparently ran out the back door and Henri returned to the stairs and saw his mother and sister lying on the landing.


Henri claimed to have fainted, and once he regained consciousness, he Googled an emergency number as he “didn’t have the number on him”.

The details are the same as the version given in Henri’s not guilty plea explanation, read out in court at the start of his trial.

Steyn said there was no sign of forced entry at 12 Goske Street and that in his experience cellphones, laptops and small valuables are typically taken during robberies.

These were, however, still in the house.

“The scene wasn’t turned upside down. Usually, a house robbery would, for example, see items thrown out of cupboards,” Steyn said.

He also did not see any bloody hand or footprints.

Steyn said in his experience, reaction to trauma varies.

“People differ; in some cases, women cry, men are angry...”

Steyn told the court that the task team he was part of investigated 60 incidents involving balaclava-clad robbers. Six suspects were arrested, with the final alleged robber being apprehended in November 2014.

The group could only be linked to 10 incidents.

The trial continues on Monday.


Read more on:    henri van breda  |  cape town  |  van breda trial

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