Henri van Breda shaves head to ‘save water during drought’

2018-02-12 19:26
PHOTO: Gys Visser

PHOTO: Gys Visser

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The tall, bald young man follows his legal team into courtroom 2 at the Cape Town High Court. He adjusts his blue jacket before entering the dock.

For a moment he’s barely recognisable. Is it really him? Has Henri van Breda – on trial for the murder of his mother, father and elder brother – shaved all his hair off?

Over the course of his 63-day trial, the triple-murder accused’s appearance has changed remarkably. Dressed in his now familiar blue suit, Henri first appeared in court with a clean-shaven face and short, neatly cropped hair. Sometimes his hair was slicked back, at other times he wore a side parting.

Then Henri started letting his hair and beard grow long. The strain of the trial started showing on Henri’s face and sometimes he’d have dark circle under his eyes.

Today he returned to court with his head shorn, which he reportedly told TimesLive was to “save water during the drought”.

On 29 November the trial was postponed until today, 12 February, to give both the prosecution and defence time to prepare their closing arguments.  


Henri stands accused of murdering his parents, Martin and Teresa van Breda, as well as his elder brother, Rudi, with an axe on 2017 January 2015 in their luxury home in the De Zalze estate near Stellenbosch.

He’s also accused of attempted murder on his sister, Marli, who survived the attack, as well as defeating the ends of justice. On day 64 of the trial Advocate Susan Galloway, state prosecutor, started the closing argument.

She argues that there had been no attacker in the Van Breda home except for Henri. She stated once again that De Zalze is a security complex with controlled access and 24-hour security patrol. There had been no signs of forced entry at the home.

She told Judge Siraj Desai that it’s highly unlikely an unarmed attacker (or attackers), as Henri claims, strolled through the security gates, straight to the Van Breda house, armed themselves at the home and murdered the family.

The trial continues.


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