AS IT HAPPENED: Henri breaks down in court as emergency call is played

2017-05-17 09:28

The Van Breda murder trial continues at the Western Cape High Court for day 13 of the proceedings.


Jump to

Last Updated at 21:37
17 May 15:25
Court is adjourned until 10 AM tomorrow morning.

17 May 15:15

Botha says he fell while chasing down the stairs, and again when he was ascending and saw family members on landing.

Botha asks if it's possible that he was concussed after he passed out, resulting in him wetting himself.

Albertse says it's possible.

17 May 15:11

Botha asks if Henri could have suffered a concussion.

He could have fallen on stairs and hit his head.

This is possible, Albertse says.

17 May 15:08

Swelling above Henri's eye - small chicken egg size, Botha says.

Henri also went to see a private doctor that night, he also had two blue eyes, Botha says.

17 May 15:07

Botha says he also had a cut on his thorax.

Is this possible? Botha asks. "I can't say it's not at all possible," she says.

He demonstrates again, showing horizontal cuts and superficial cuts are possible.

17 May 15:03
Botha holds up the knife. She shows how Henri says he grabbed the "intruder" forearm, and the person tilted the knife to try and cut him while his hand was being held up.

17 May 15:01

They asked me to speculate on the method of the injuries. Albertse deferred.

17 May 14:58

Once Dr Dempers did his tests on depth of wounds, came to 50mm. On the knife it looked clear that the edge of the knife still had blood on it, Botha says.

She noted 10mm.

17 May 14:53

Two officers were with him, Botha says,

One asked you in Afrikaans if the wounds could be self-inflicted and you said you would look into it.

She says she doesn't remember.

17 May 14:51
She says she would note strong stench of alcohol. She saw nothing that made her think he was under the influence of any substance.

17 May 14:50
You noted him as very quiet, couldn't find clinical proof of drugs or alcohol. She agrees.

17 May 14:49
Cross exmaniation from Adv Botha.

17 May 14:49

She also took DNA and nail scrapings from him.

17 May 14:46

She was contacted by police to answer certain questions.

One was whether injuries could be self inflicted. Asked that it be referred to a specialist.

17 May 14:46

As if he scraped against something.

17 May 14:44

Injuries to head possible, but not knee

The knob on his head is blunt trauma. It wasn't sharp - blunt force.

Injuries to his back is an abrasion. Similar to grass burn.

17 May 14:42
Blood spot on stairs. Adv Galloway asks if the injuries she noted correspondents with significant fall as he said in his plea explanation.

17 May 14:41

I just looked clinically.

17 May 14:38

When I filled in my form, relooked and thought the scratches I had seen would be better described as a cut.

A scratch tears skin. Cut would involve sharp object.                        

17 May 14:37

Albertse noted injuries including scratches, a superficial knife wound, scratch above nipple, right leg had an old scratch, but she noted swelling and bruising. Swelling above left eye.

She didn't see the injuries as serious.

If she feels need for medical attention, she would tell police to do so. She didn't in this case.

17 May 14:28

She completed a J88 while he was present.

She noted his length, 1.84m, with normal build. She would describe him as a tall and big man.

17 May 14:26

District surgeon at Stellenbosch district hospital

11:30 that morning, Henri was examined by her. Albertse says she was asked to note his injuries and that he had been a victim.

17 May 14:24
Lizette Albertse to testify next.

17 May 12:46
Court is adjourned till 2pm.

17 May 12:44
Botha says it appears Henri toward the end of the call is calmer than he was initially. Could that be because you stayed calm? Yes, she says.

17 May 12:43

Botha asks about Philander's calm demeanour, and how she was trained.

Is that also a way you calm down a caller? She says it is.

17 May 12:42
She says the second giggle was brought to her attention afterward.

17 May 12:40

Judge Desai asks what percentage of calls to emergency call centre is prank calls.

Philander - in last six months until Feb this year, 35 374 prank calls from 238 350 calls.

17 May 12:39
Botha says Henri told her they were bleeding form the head because in Australia they send an ambulance immediately, and treat it as a real emergency.

17 May 12:36

Botha - Why did it take you so long? Is it because you didn't believe him?

Yes, she replies.

17 May 12:36

Ambulance dispatch spoke Afrikaans to Henri but managed to get the address from him within 2 minutes, Botha says.

Philander says she did the background work and handed over the info.

17 May 12:34

Botha says he referred her to 10 Allermann Street because that is the address he picked up on Google, offered to meet them outside. What else than trying to assist is he trying to do?

"He was trying to assist," Philander says.

17 May 12:32

17 May 12:27

He asks her how clip ended up with the media. Philander says she doesn't know.

Desai says giggle was an interpretation.

17 May 12:25

Desai says it is quite clear that he stutters. Philander maintains she didn't pick it up, and doesn't sound that way to her.

Philander says it sounds even more to her like a giggle.

17 May 12:25

Botha puts it to her that Henri never giggled, and was slightly sobbing, and was saying please.

Asks if she can refute this.

17 May 12:24
In clip, after Henri says family members are "bleeding form the head", a noise is heard. Interpreted as a giggle.

17 May 12:20

Botha referring back to her statement - says she didn't mention the giggle.

Philander says she couldn't get it out of her mind how he sounded. "That hesitancy".

She in her statement says she heard the giggle when she listened to the recording.

Botha asks who brought her attention to the second giggle. Philander says the call was on social media.

Botha says it was said on social media that he was giggling.

17 May 12:18

Botha says in his client's mind it didn't make sense to end call as he was already speaking to an operator.

He didn't want to take the chance to put phone down and get through.

Philander concedes that this is reasonable.

17 May 12:18
Philander says there are 15 operators.

17 May 12:17
Botha refers to her comment of how she found it strange that he didn't hang up and call back. He says there were chances that he wouldn't have gotten through again as month end is a busy time at the call centre.

17 May 12:15
Botha says while on his mobile, Henri got a GPS location on his phone, which is where he saw their house could be picked up as 10 Allermann Street.

17 May 12:14
Botha says she didn't pick it up because she spelt in incorrectly.

17 May 12:13

Botha - what went wrong?

Philander - no interruption, agitation, he didn't stop me at any time. It's an assault - he didn't bring that back up in any of the conversations.

Botha - he did bring it up a few times. He gave you correct address form the outset - Philander says it was the correct address. Won't show on map because its in a secure complex. Now the system picks it up.

17 May 12:12

LISTEN: Full emergency call between Henri van Breda and dispatchers

On Wednesday the full '911' call between Henri van Breda, the emergency operator and dispatchers was played in the Western Cape High Court. 

17 May 12:11

In conference with ambulance her opinion changed, she monitored the time to see holding on. Checked when started and how long he had taken on the call.

Was it his fault call took so long?

Philander says yes. Normally caller in this type of emergency, sets the tone.

17 May 12:10

Botha asks "how on earth" this could that be the case if he was trying to remain calm and she didn't have to spend time to calm him down. 

Philander says the way he answered set the tone of the whole call. She remained suspicious throughout.

17 May 12:07
She says if he had started shouting and screaming at her, it wouldn't have taken longer [to respond].

17 May 12:07
If Henri started shouting at her, it would have taken longer for him to communicate with her. Botha asks if she considered this.

17 May 12:06

Botha says the fact he remained polite to her is counting against him. 

She says throughout the call he sounded the same.

Botha says that is not what he is hearing.

Jump to


Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.