How Marli van Breda fought for her life: pathologist tells court of ‘severe scuffle’ with axeman

Dr Daphne Anthony, forensic pathologist who read out details of the autopsies on the Van Breda family on 25 May 2017
Picture: Anthony Molyneaux

Marli van Breda fought tooth and nail to fend off her attacker‚ the High Court in Cape Town heard on Thursday.

Her brother Henri – accused of killing their parents and brother – hung his head as forensic pathologist Dr Daphne Anthony described how Marli had several “defensive wounds” and that there were signs of “a severe scuffle” with her attacker.

Anthony said that the nature and location of Marli’s wounds on her hands showed definite signs of “struggling going on during the attack” and that she had fought hard to “save her life”.

Brother Rudi had probably been lying in bed on his side when the attacker struck‚ and it is likely the attack on him was most violent.

“I can postulate that since his injuries were all on the left side‚ he was most likely lying on his side in bed‚ and with the infliction of the trauma to the head‚ he was aware of what was coming down and raised his hand in an attempt to fend it off‚” she said.

Earlier in the day‚ she described how he was found in blue striped boxer shorts which he had been wearing at the time of the attack.

Father Martin had been “completely unaware of the attack”‚ but mother Teresa had faced her attacker head on‚ and had raised her hand with her palm facing out to protect herself. She had then probably fallen on her face‚ bruising her ribs in the process. She then sustained more severe injuries from the attacker after she fell.

Anthony said Rudi probably lay alive for some time fighting for his life after receiving massive blows to the head. Blood pooled in his stomach‚ and ultimately his left lung collapsed as he aspirated his own blood. He had tried to fend off an attack‚ and his wrist and little finger got sliced in the process‚ the nail being loosened from the skin.

It was likely that Martin had been taken by surprise‚ and had his back to his attacker. He showed no signs of defensive wounds but did received a blow to his back. He‚ too‚ lay conscious for some time before dying‚ but Teresa had either died instantly or been too unconscious to swallow blood.

The case continues.

Leave a Reply