The Herald (South Africa)

SA life violent, says Van Breda’s lawyer

- Tanya Farber

GRATUITOUS violence is part and parcel of life in South Africa‚ Henri van Breda’s advocate told the Cape High Court yesterday.

In his closing argument in the marathon triple axe-murder trial‚ Piet Botha compared the murders of Martin‚ Teresa and Rudi van Breda in Stellenbos­ch three years ago with the recent stabbing of a hiker in Kalk Bay and an attack on a sleeping man in Stellenbos­ch.

This came after Judge Siraj Desai‚ presiding over the trial of Van Breda, 23, questioned why an assailant from outside the family would attack them in such a brutal manner.

Desai described the murders of Van Breda’s parents and brother‚ and the life-threatenin­g assault on his sister Marli‚ as the result of a frenzy‚ saying: “It’s almost as if the person really wanted to attack them out of anger rather than fortuitous­ly killing people during a botched robbery.

“The person that killed them did so with definite intent.”

Botha disagreed‚ saying: “Crimes in our country‚ including house invasions‚ go handin-hand with gratuitous violence.”

This was proved by the recent fatal stabbings in Kalk Bay and Stellenbos­ch. “It is the country we are living in‚” Botha said.

If one wondered why an outsider would wipe out the Van Bredas so brutally, one should also ask why Henri would act in that manner, he said.

He also disagreed with Desai’s comment earlier in the week that the assailant appeared to know the layout of the Van Breda family home at De Zalze.

He said the ground floor was open-plan‚ and it would take someone entering through the kitchen only seconds to see all the downstairs areas.

“There is nothing about my client’s version that necessitat­es the assailant [knowing] the [house] layout,” he said.

Thieves on the estate had looked for a house with “easy access”, he suggested.

He said: “Maybe one stays downstairs looking in cupboards and drawers, while the other goes upstairs.

“[In the first bedroom] he finds Rudi sleeping. Rudi wakes up so he attacks him.

“Henri then starts calling for help‚ Martin comes in‚ and the attacker kills Martin.”

But Desai responded: “How likely is it that nobody makes a noise during this? Nobody shouts for help? The attackers don’t call to each other? They don’t take anything?”

The case continues.


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