Van Breda 'cool, calm, no emotion' on day of triple murders

2017-05-25 19:22
Henri van Breda arriving at court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda arriving at court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Henri van Breda asked police if he needed a lawyer the day of the murder, but was met with a response of: "Why? Are you guilty?" the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

A trial within a trial is unfolding over the admissibility of the first statement he gave the police on the day of the triple murders, with defence advocate Pieter Botha arguing that his client had not been given food and had effectively not slept since the Sunday.

Police had already seen Van Breda as a suspect and he was entitled to be warned that he didn't have to make a statement, had the right to consult with a legal representative, and the right to remain silent, Botha said.

Also read: Henri van Breda avoids gruesome pics of dead family

Van Breda was repeatedly questioned and asked to sign a statement prior to his release, Botha said. He had only been dressed in his boxer shorts, and family and friends weren't allowed to give him food or clothes until he had signed the statement.

Botha said that while he was not submitting that the officers had deprived him, it was relevant as to why Van Breda had decided to sign his statement when it was taken.

Self-inflicted injuries

State Advocate Susan Galloway countered that Van Breda was seen as a witness at the time of his being taken to the police station and district surgeon.

Botha, however, pointed out that officers had asked the doctor if Van Breda's injuries could be self-inflicted, indicating that they had already seen him as a suspect.

Sergeant Clinton Malan, who was at the scene on that Tuesday morning and was later instructed to take Van Breda's statement, was called to the stand.

He and a colleague had taken Van Breda from the scene to the district surgeon for a J88 form to be completed, and to the police station where he was interviewed.

During the trip, he and his partner asked Van Breda about the incident, what happened and whether he could describe the attacker.

Van Breda didn't volunteer to speak to them, Malan recalled, and only answered when they asked him questions.

Malan told the court that Van Breda was interviewed because he was the only survivor they could speak to, and police needed his statement to inform their crime intelligence division about the possible suspect they need to locate.

While his statement was being taken, van Breda remained calm, quiet and didn't show emotion, Malan said, and didn't indicate that he did not want to speak to the police.

'There as a victim'

He confirmed that, at the time, Van Breda had not been detained or charged.

"He was there as a victim," Malan told Judge Siraj Desai.

He claimed Van Breda had been wearing a T-shirt and long pants at the time of being interviewed.

Last week, clinical forensic specialist Dr Marianne Tiemensma testified that Van Breda's wounds were superficial and typical of self-inflicted injuries. The only injuries he was unlikely to have caused were those on his head, back, and leg, she said.

The 22-year-old is on trial on charges of murdering his parents - Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55 - and brother Rudi, 22, with an axe, attempting to murder his younger sister Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty, claiming that a balaclava-clad man attacked the family in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch, and then escaped.

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

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