WRAP: Van Breda used replica to demonstrate axe attack on his family

2017-11-01 18:31
Henri van Breda before his cross-examination. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda before his cross-examination. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Henri van Breda was handed a replica of the axe, used to bludgeon his family to death, to demonstrate the blows that killed his father and brother two years ago.

The triple murder accused, who turned 23 on Wednesday, showed Judge Siraj Desai the movements that the alleged attacker made as his brother Rudi lay asleep in his bed and his father Martin attempted to intervene.

However, prosecutor Susan Galloway said that his actions did not correlate with post-mortem results.

WATCH: Henri van Breda demonstrates axe attack from stand

Defence advocate Pieter Botha objected, saying that Galloway was not a doctor.

Van Breda said he gave a “random shout” when he realised his brother was being attacked. He stepped out of the bathroom and stood in a corner of the room he shared with Rudi.

However, the attacker ignored his shouting. Instead, it led his father Martin to enter the room and turn on the light.

The businessman ostensibly tried to tackle the masked intruder and was repeatedly hit over the head and neck.

High pitched laugh

Galloway questioned Van Breda’s description of the suspect - who he said could have been black – calling it a stereotyped description of an unknown black man wearing a balaclava and gloves.

He said he told the police he was not entirely sure of the attacker’s race, saying he had made the assessment after noting that the white of the man’s eyes contrasted the colour of his skin.

Van Breda claimed to have been in the corner of the room throughout the attack and that he lost sight of the man when he left the room, after hearing his mother Teresa ask what was going on.

Desai asked why he hadn’t shouted to his mother when he saw the intruder heading in her direction.

“I don’t know,” he replied, saying he didn't do anything when the man left the room.

“If I had been thinking clearly, I probably would have done these things… If I hadn't been so scared.”

ALSO READ: 'Laughing axe-attacker slowly came for me' - Van Breda's version of events

He said he presumed the intruder was aware of his presence in the room, but only came at him after the rest of his family had been attacked.

Van Breda claimed the intruder laughed – describing the laughter as high pitched - when he bludgeoned his father and when he returned to the room after attacking Teresa and his sister Marli.

“I still hear his giggling in my nightmares,” he testified.

The axe

Van Breda pleaded not guilty to axing his parents and brother to death, seriously injuring Marli and defeating the ends of justice.

He alleged an intruder was behind the attack and that he had heard voices of people, speaking Afrikaans, in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch in January 2015.

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

He said he didn’t recognise the axe used in the attack, but accepted that former domestic work Precious Munyongani confirmed it was the one stored in the family’s scullery.

READ: Henri van Breda says he does not recognise axe used to kill his parents, brother

When asked if it looked relatively new to him, he declined the opportunity to examine it.

Galloway pointed out that it appeared both weapons used in the attack was from their house, implying that the attacker/s came either unarmed or inadequately armed.

He agreed that this was strange.

Van Breda had also not seen another axe that night.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

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

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