Van Breda neighbour heard nothing as 3 people were hacked to death

2017-10-24 16:52
Annelize Taljaard, understood to be a former neighbour of the Van Breda family at De Zalze, is the defence's third witness. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Annelize Taljaard, understood to be a former neighbour of the Van Breda family at De Zalze, is the defence's third witness. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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LIVE STREAM: Van Breda trial, day 51

2017-10-24 09:57

The possibility of Henri van Breda fabricating that he passed out for two hours and 40 minutes cannot be ruled out, his defence’s second expert witness testified in the Western Cape High Court on Monday. Watch as the trial continues on Tuesday. WATCH

Cape Town – While three people were being hacked to death two doors away, a neighbour says she didn't hear anything out of the ordinary, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Annelize Taljaard, a mother of three who lived two doors away from the Van Bredas' home in De Zalze Estate, Stellenbosch, described herself as a light sleeper, and said would wake up if she heard loud laughter coming from a party as the luxury homes were situated very close together.

Taljaard, the defence's third witness, explained that sound carries within the estate and any noise would be reported to security.

She was testifying in the murder trial of Henri van Breda who is accused of killing his mother, Teresa, his father, Martin, and brother Rudi.

He also faces a charge of attempted murder for allegedly attacking his sister Marli, who survived the attack, but suffered a brain injury.

READ: Van Breda faking his blackout is possible - expert

Taljaard went to bed at about 22:00 on the night of the murders and awoke at about 05:00 to go for a swim at Paul Roos Gymnasium.

When she returned to take her children to school, she was still unaware of the massacre that had taken place during the night.

Only when a friend came to ask her what was happening did she go out and see police vehicles and an ambulance in Goske Street.

Neighbour working late

Earlier in the trial, Stephanie Op't Hof, who lived opposite the Van Bredas, said she had heard raised voices coming from the house between 22:00 and shortly after midnight on the morning of the murders.

She testified that she was unable to hear what was being said, what language was being spoken, or how many people were involved. She had been working late and had gone to bed after midnight.

The mother of two said her baby monitor woke her just before 04:00 and she had found her infant wide awake.

She took him to her bed, where she found her older child also wide awake.

Defence lawyer Advocate Matthys Combrink at the time told her that Martin, Rudi and Henri had been watching Star Trek 2 that night, on a new home theatre system, but Op't Hof countered that what she heard was not a film.

No one had sought assistance from her that night or morning, she said, and she found it strange that Henri hadn't come to her door to ask for help.

Fight with axe-wielding intruder

Taljaard's home was two doors away from the Van Breda house.

During cross-examination, she agreed that Op't Hof was closer, as a double-storey house separated her from 12 Goske Street.

She didn't hear shouts for help, an apparently laughing attacker or Teresa asking what was going on, as per Henri's untested version, she conceded during cross-examination by Advocate Megan Blows.

READ: Not enough to prove another person in Van Breda home - State

Van Breda, 22, pleaded not guilty to axing his parents and brother to death, seriously injuring his sister Marli and defeating the ends of justice. He alleged that an intruder, wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothing, was behind the attack, and that he had heard other voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their home.

Van Breda claimed that, after a fight with the axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

Alarm activated four times

The defence also called Energized Fencing owner Charl Rabie as a witness.

His company did work at De Zalze about 12 years ago, but didn't install the estate's fencing.

After looking at photos of the estate's fencing, he explained that gaining access was possible, especially if the person had knowledge of how it worked.

Four alarm activations were recorded at De Zalze the night of the murders, which security manager Marcia Rossouw testified were due to low power.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway pointed out that video surveillance showed nothing unusual in its feed recorded that night. The trial continues on Wednesday.

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

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