De Zalze: Horrific details about the injuries of the Van Breda family

25 May 2017

Rudi’s attack was the most horrific of the family.

Dr Daphné Anthony, a pathologist, revealed horrific details about the injuries of the Van Breda family in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday. Henri van Breda sat on the far end of the dock in a bid to avoid seeing photos of his murdered family members.

Anthony also testified that Marli’s injuries were similar to those of her murdered parents and older brother.

The multiple defence wounds on her hands serve as evidence of her fight to stay alive. According to Anthony, Marli fought with a stronger force against her attacker than the other members of her family. She described it as a fight between Marli and her attacker.

She also testified that Rudi’s attack was the most horrific of the family, followed by his father, Martin, and then his mother, Teresa.

Marli van Breda

Anthony testified that various factors contributed to Marli’s survival of the onslaught. Age, loss of blood and the degree of the wound can determine the victim’s chance of survival, she testified. She doesn’t know if Marli sustained a fractured skull or brain injuries.

Rudi van Breda

Anthony testified that Rudi was most likely laying on his bed. He must have seen what was coming and lifted his hand to shield the attack.

Answering Judge Siraj Desai’s question on how Rudi’s body landed up on the bathroom floor if he was attacked in his bed, Anthony explained that he either moved by his self (because he didn’t die immediately) or that he was moved there.

In all likelihood, Rudi was struck twice in the head before he tried blocking the attack. She testified that Martin was unaware of the attack, but Teresa faced her attacker.  

According to her findings, both Rudi and Martin were alive after the attack, due to blood being found in their stomachs, indicating that they were still able to swallow.

During cross-examination, advocate Pieter Botha asked Anthony if she had read the defence’s forensic pathologist, Reggie Perumal’s report and if there were any differences between his and hers. Perumal’s report stated that Rudi only died two hours and 40 minutes later. Anthony said she can’t agree with that for certain.

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