ACCUSED: South African murder accused Henri van Breda arrives at the high court in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. Van Breda, faces three counts of murder for allegedly killing his parents and older brother with an axe.
ACCUSED: South African murder accused Henri van Breda arrives at the high court in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. Van Breda, faces three counts of murder for allegedly killing his parents and older brother with an axe. Schalk van Zuydam

Son faces court over brutal murder of family

A SOUTH African high court has started to hear whether Henri van Breda was responsible for the gruesome triple murder of his family who had planned to call the Sunshine Coast home.

Martin van Breda had bought a luxurious Buderim home to build a better life for his three, South African born, children.

His youngest child, Marli, was a student at Matthew Flinders School.

But in late 2014, the family returned to South Africa for Mr Van Breda's work commitments.

In the early hours of January 27, 2015, they were brutally assaulted with a 4.5kg axe in their luxurious and high-security home at Stellenbosch (near Cape Town).

 

The van Breda family in happier times. 

Photo: Contributed
The van Breda family in happier times. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Martin, 54, his wife, Terese, 55, and eldest son, Rudi, 22, were killed and daughter, Marli, 16, at the time, was seriously injured with head wounds and a severed jugular.

Henri was only slightly hurt and made the call to emergency services, allegedly four hours after the attack.

This phone call was leaked to media and Henri appeared to giggle as he detailed his family was "unconscious and bleeding from the head".

For months after the brutal murders, no arrests were made, no leads were revealed and Marli slowly started to recover from her horrific injuries.

And then, about 18 months after the tragedy, Henri handed himself in to police and was charged with the triple murder, attempted murder and obstructing the course of justice.

 

Marli van Breda was seriously injured in the incident that killed her parents and brother, Rudi.
Marli van Breda was seriously injured in the incident that killed her parents and brother, Rudi. Contributed

Henri was released on $10,000 bail and was told to stay away from his sister.

Court documents have shown hours before Henri called emergency services, he called his girlfriend, which went unanswered.

The court papers have also been reported to show a family row was heard at the Stellenbosch home in the hours leading up to the savage attack.

Henri has always maintained his innocence, with reports saying he claimed the axe-wielding murderer breached the estate's state-of-the-art security and murdered his loved ones while he was in the bathroom.

 

Buderim couple Martin and Teresa van Breda.
Buderim couple Martin and Teresa van Breda. Contributed

Since his release on bail, Henri was arrested on a drugs charge, along with his girlfriend Danielle Janse Van Rensburg, 21, whom he met at cooking school in the months after his parents and brother were killed.

Henri stands to inherit a share of his family's $21 million fortune, along with Marli. This would include proceeds from the sale of the family's Buderim home, which has been listed on the market for sale at $2.49 million.

Marli has been listed as one of the state's witnesses in the court case, but it remains unclear if she will testify.

She has had retrograde amnesia and has said she remembers nothing of the brutal night she lost most of her family.

 

Marli van Breda.
Marli van Breda. Contributed

The case will be heard by respected judge Siraj Desai.

Henri was to be represented by Pieter Botha, who was in the defence team for Shrien Dewani, a millionaire who was cleared of arranging the assassination of his wife during their 2010 honeymoon to Cape Town.

If Henri is found guilty, he would not be entitled to inherit any of his family's fortune.

The case was expected to start last night with a decision on whether the trial would be broadcast live.



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