South Africa

South African Henri van Breda found guilty of hacking his wealthy parents and brother to death with an axe

Judge Siraj Desai said the ‘inescapable’ conclusion was that van Breda was the man who sneaked into his parents’ estate and murdered them and his brother. His sister was left severely injured

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 May, 2018, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 10:09pm

A South African judge on Monday found a man guilty of killing his wealthy parents and brother three years ago in a frenzied axe attack that also left his sister severely injured.

Henri van Breda, 23, had denied murdering his 21-year-old brother Rudi and parents Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and leaving his sister Marli struggling with near-fatal injuries to her head, neck and throat.

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During the trial, van Breda told the court that a late-night intruder had entered the family’s home on an exclusive, highly guarded estate in Stellenbosch, outside Cape Town, on January 27, 2015.

But the judge, Siraj Desai, systematically took apart the defence case in a five-hour summary of the trial before delivering a verdict that Desai said, “as a family man, it’s difficult” to deliver.

“After considering all the evidence, the result in inescapable,” Desai said, finding van Breda guilty on three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, as well as of  obstructing justice.

“That the accused was the perpetrator of the crime is the only reasonable conclusion,” he said.

“No evidence of a typical house robbery or breaking is evident.

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“Four of five members of family found brutally attacked in similar fashion and left for dead … The accused was left standing, having lived through the events.”

Van Breda, standing in the dock, showed little emotion as the verdict was read out, while his girlfriend wept in the back of the court.