Mysteries of Marli’s blood
Trial twist No sign of sister’s DNA on killer’s axe or Henri’s clothing
● Just like her own memory of that fateful night, bloody evidence of the attack on Marli van Breda in the triple-axe murder case is missing.
Two major questions hung over the trial of Henri van Breda in the Cape Town High Court on Wednesday: Why was none of Marli’s blood or DNA found on the head of the axe allegedly used to attack her? And why was none of her blood found on the shorts and socks of the accused?
Van Breda is on trial for the murder of his father, mother and brother and the attempted murder of Marli.
On Tuesday police blood-spatter expert MARIUS JOUBERT Blood-spatter expert
Captain Marius Joubert described how blood from the other family members on Van Breda’s socks and shorts indicated he was far closer to the “blood-shedding” events than he made out in his plea statement.
At least nine inconsistencies came to light on Tuesday between the blood evidence and Van Breda’s plea statement.
While Van Breda looked crestfallen as Joubert testified on Tuesday, he smiled on Wednesday as his defence counsel, Piet Botha, repeatedly asked Joubert about the absence of Marli’s DNA or blood on the axe and the accused’s clothing.
Marli was left for dead when her parents and brother were hacked to death with an axe at their luxury home in Stellenbosch in January 2015.
Joubert testified by referring to a principle that says “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”.
He said it was possible the nature of Marli’s injuries — lacerations on her neck and head — were not as prone to major bloodshedding as those sustained by her deceased family members, who were hit repeatedly in the same place on their heads.
Botha said: “No blood or DNA of Marli was found on my client’s shorts or socks. And similarly, on the weapon, not a single drop of her blood was found.”
He said the postmortem revealed that Marli had injuries “described as being similar to those of the deceased”, so why did none of her blood show on the axe?
Joubert said the nature of her lacerations — sustained during what a forensic pathologist described as a major struggle with her attacker — would make her bleeding different.
“You have to get blood to the surface to transfer it onto an axe. The first blow will create trauma to the tissue, but only if you strike in the same place will it bring blood.
“If you hit once in different areas, the chances of transferring blood onto the weapon are actually minimal. There are so many variables, including whether it is soft tissue being hit or not.”
The case continues.
“The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”