Henri Van Breda re-enacts alleged fight with balaclava-clad intruder

2017-11-02 17:15
Henri van Breda in court. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda in court. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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WATCH: Henri van Breda demonstrates axe attack from stand

2017-11-01 13:28

Henri van Breda demonstrates certain aspects of the axe attack in the Western Cape High Court. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town – Armed with a fake axe and replica knife, Henri van Breda on Thursday re-enacted the alleged fight between himself and a masked intruder, demonstrating how he sustained the minor wounds he claims to have suffered in the attack which saw three of his family members bludgeoned to death almost three years ago.

With Sergeant Clinton Malan – who took Van Breda's first statement to the police – assuming the role of the balaclava-clad attacker, Van Breda slowly took the court through his alleged movements as he came face to face with the man in a corner of his bedroom.

He demonstrated how he disarmed the axe-wielding suspect, who produced a knife and swiped at him, causing the cuts on his forearm, chest and, later, a stab wound to his side.

He also showed how he came to hit the attacker on the left shoulder before the man apparently fled.

After the re-enactment, Judge Siraj Desai asked why he hadn't lunged out and attacked his assailant.

"He attacked your family," Desai pointed out.

Van Breda responded: "I was scared. I didn't have anger until many days later.

"With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I did get angry and react."

Desai explained that he was trying to understand Van Breda's state of mind.

"I was overwhelmed," he replied.

Throwing axe 'not a conscious decision'

Prosecutor Susan Galloway told him his wounds, which were parallel and similar in nature and depth, were a textbook case of self-inflicted injuries.

Van Breda denied doing any harm to himself.

He said throwing the axe at the intruder as he fled down the stairs was not a conscious decision.

Also read: WRAP: Van Breda used replica to demonstrate axe attack on his family

Galloway replied that that meant that he handed the weapon back to the attacker, and Van Breda agreed that it was "not a wise move".

He couldn't recall his position when he threw the axe.

"You missed him by quite some distance. The hole is on the upper part of the wall," Galloway said.

"Okay," he replied.

No sign of burglary

When asked if he had checked the house after the assailant fled to see if any intruders were still there, he said he hadn't as he had wanted to call for help for his family.

"I was recovering from large amount of trauma," Van Breda said.

The Van Bredas did not lock their back door, and Galloway asked if it would have been possible for the intruders to have simply ransacked the house.

Yes, he agreed.

Police had also said that there had been no sign of a burglary as apart from two drawers in the kitchen and the cupboards in the study being left open, the house didn't resemble a break-in or robbery scene.

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

'Comfortable, middle class dog didn't bark'

He alleged an intruder was behind the attack and that he had heard voices of people, speaking Afrikaans, in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch in January 2015.

Van Breda claimed that after a fight with the intruder the man had escaped.

Galloway also asked about where the family dog, Sasha, had been at the time of the attack.

Van Breda said that he didn't know and that he didn't recall hearing her bark.

"Sasha was the opposite of a guard dog. She wouldn't bark at strange noises, but would if the phone rang," he testified.

Desai quipped that Sasha was a "comfortable, middle class" dog.

Correct, Van Breda said, adding that Sasha barked at domestic worker Precious Munyongani not because she was scared, but because Munyongani played with her.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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

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