Wednesday 24 January 2018

Man accused of slaughtering family in axe rampage

Henri Van Breda arrives at court for his trial for allegedly killing his parents and brother with an axe. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Henri Van Breda arrives at court for his trial for allegedly killing his parents and brother with an axe. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Stuart Graham

A 22-year-old South African man appeared in court yesterday on charges of murdering three members of his family with an axe in their luxury home in Cape Town in January 2015.

Henri Van Breda, who handed himself over to police in September last year, is accused of murdering his father Martin (54), a wealthy businessman, his mother Teresa (55) and older brother Rudi (22) in a frenzied early morning axe attack in the heart of South Africa's western Cape vineyard area.

His younger sister Marli, who was 16 at the time of the attack, was left for dead on a balcony. She survived, despite a cut to her jugular vein and severe head injuries.

Smiled

Mr Van Breda appeared calm and smiled briefly as he appeared in the packed court room wearing a blue suit.

The case was postponed to April 24 because the defence said it had not received crucial DNA reports about the murder weapon from the state.

Mr Van Breda, who is out on bail, has agreed not to contact witnesses, including his sister. He is also forbidden from being within 500 metres of an airport or a harbour.

According to police, when officers arrived at the crime scene they found Mr Van Breda sitting outside the house, wearing sleeping shorts and white socks stained with the blood of the victims.

He was taken in for questioning and later brought back to the house, where investigators found a bloodstained axe and kitchen knife. He was later released into the care of an uncle.

Marli Van Breda, who has been living with other members of the extended family, is suffering amnesia and unable to recall the incident.

On the morning of the attack Mr Van Breda had phoned his girlfriend at 4am but only called paramedics three hours later.

A recording of Mr Van Breda phoning the emergency services emerged in which he can be heard telling the operator: "My family and me were attacked by a guy with an axe."

Irish Independent

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