A luxury estate with impenetrable boundaries and top-notch security – this is the picture painted of the Stellenbosch estate where the gruesome murder of three members of the Van Breda family took place.
Yesterday, however‚ a different image emerged in court.
Henri van Breda, who is accused of murdering his mother, father and brother and the attempted murder of his sister in 2015, showed little emotion as he sat in the dock in the Cape Town High Court for the continuation of his trial.
According to Piet Botha‚ defence counsel for Van Breda‚ the Stellenbosch detectives unit provided stats on 190 incidents at the De Zalze estate since December 2002 – including 24 house break-ins.
Botha also said that they had called in a blood-spatter expert and footprint expert to examine the scene. He said the footprint expert had concluded that “shoe prints of blood on the scene were that of the first investigating officer”‚ who has since died.
Botha presented this information in support of Van Breda’s plea statement that it was an outside intruder and not him who had carried out the crime.
Botha started the day’s proceedings by questioning Sergeant Adrian Kleynhans‚ who was the first on the scene.
During his testimony last week, Kleynhans said that Van Breda seemed panicked and emotional, in contrast with his original statement which said he was traumatised.
“You gave this statement in court to purposefully bring the court into a misperception about what happened‚” Botha said.
Kleynhans denied that was his intention and blamed the discrepancy on human error‚ adding that his original stateBotha ment was correct.
He said‚ however‚ that Henri was emotional and shaky when he approached him to comfort him.
At one point‚ Judge Siraj Desai reprimanded Botha for the way in which he was speaking. replied: “I do have a loud voice,” to which Desai responded: “Yes, you do have a booming voice but it is not necessary to raise it.”
The main tension of the day, however, lay in the presence of a file of horrific photographs that detailed every inch of the bloody crime scene and the postmortems that followed.
Desai prevailed on the media to report on the photographs with discretion after Van Breda whispered to Botha that images of his sister Marli and other family members should not be made public.
While details of the photographs cannot be shared in the public domain‚ the response of members of the media was telling – some regretted looking at them given how disturbing they are.