Henri van Breda gets three life sentences for family axe murders

Henri van Breda appears in the Cape Town High Court on June 7 2018 for sentencing after he was found guilty of the murders of his mother, brother and father and attempted murder of his sister.
Henri van Breda appears in the Cape Town High Court on June 7 2018 for sentencing after he was found guilty of the murders of his mother, brother and father and attempted murder of his sister.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

Henri van Breda was handed three life sentences in prison on Thursday for murdering his parents and brother.

He was also sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for attempting to murder his sister and 12 months imprisonment for obstructing the course of justice. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Judge Siraj Desai, who presided over the 23-year-old's lengthy trial at the High Court in Cape Town, handed down the sentences after convicting Van Breda of the 2015 murders of his father Martin, mother Teresa and elder brother Rudi, and the attempted murder of his younger sister, Marli.

Van Breda attacked his wealthy family with an axe and has refused to explain or apologise, maintaining that the perpetrator was a masked intruder.

On Tuesday Desai had asked defence counsel Piet Botha to present any information he had which would allow the judge to show the murderer some mercy.

The advocate said Van Breda's youth and the fact that he was a first-time offender were the only factors he could suggest, conceding that neither was weighty enough to argue for a lighter sentence than the mandatory minimum of life.

This has led to speculation that an appeal is on the cards.

The axe triple murder case that rocked South Africa has come to a close.

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