'Put forward some reason for the attacks' – Judge Desai to Van Breda defence

2018-06-05 16:24
Henri van Breda in Court (Aljoscha Kohlstock/News24)

Henri van Breda in Court (Aljoscha Kohlstock/News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Axe murderer Henri van Breda appeared unmoved as Judge Siraj Desai appealed to his defence to give a "human factor" to the defence's appeal for leniency in light of the "grotesque nature" of his crimes.

But all advocate Pieter Botha could offer was that his client had no previous convictions and had been young at the time of the brutal killings.

Proceedings lasted just over an hour in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, where the State and Van Breda's legal teams offered aggravating and mitigating factors to be considered ahead of the 23-year-old's sentencing.

ALSO READ: 11 facts that led to Henri van Breda's conviction

Van Breda emerged from the holding cells for the first time after being sent to Pollsmoor Prison last month. He was found guilty of murdering his parents and brother, attempting to kill his sister and obstructing the course of justice.

Desai made it clear he considered the crimes to have been premeditated, as Van Breda would have had to arm himself before bludgeoning Rudi, Martin and Teresa to death and trying to murder Marli.

Premeditated murder carries a prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.

Social worker's report

"I am appealing to you to put forward to me some reason for the attacks," Desai told Botha.

Botha said at the time of the murder, his client had just turned 20. Up until then, Van Breda had "not been in conflict with the law once in his life".

He maintains his innocence, the seasoned advocate said.

Botha had earlier submitted a report from a social worker, compiled from information given by Van Breda and his girlfriend Danielle Janse van Rensburg. They have been dating for just over two years.

Van Breda had reported that he was very close to his parents – he had intellectual conversations with his father Martin, although he was not the emotional type.

His mother was a nurturer, and they had an emotional, more than intellectual, connection.

Jail attack

According to the report, Van Breda was protective of his sister and looked up to his brother, Rudi.

The middle child has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and myoclonic epilepsy. He is on chronic medication.

READ: Anger and motherly empathy for 'loner' Henri van Breda - friend of murdered Teresa

The social worker found no signs of a set pattern of antisocial behaviour and found that Van Breda was appropriately emotional about dealing with the deaths of his family.

Botha also confirmed to the court that Van Breda had been attacked while behind bars but escaped serious injury after another inmate came to his rescue.

His foot had been hurt when it was stomped on, but no bones were broken.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway confirmed Van Breda only had a bruise on his left foot and no other visible injuries.

Both agreed that there had been no suicide attempt, despite media reports.

No remorse

Galloway argued that there was no substantial and compelling circumstances which would warrant deviating from the prescribed minimum sentence.

She pointed out that Van Breda killed his family when they were most vulnerable – in bed.

He had armed himself with a lethal weapon to execute the attacks, she argued.

Van Breda showed no remorse, Galloway insisted, and Marli had survived because of a miracle, not because of mercy shown by her brother.

There was no prescribed sentence for attempted murder, she told Desai, and argued that a sentence similar to the one for his parents' and brother's murders be handed down for the attack on Marli as it was committed during the same incident with the same weapon and intent.

Desai said sentencing Van Breda would appear to be relatively uncomplicated, after appealing to the defence to "put forward to me some reason for the attacks" and being given nothing.

Sentencing is expected on Thursday.

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

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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 24.com 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.