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Real Crime - - News - Ben biggs Edi­tor

igh- pro­file mur­ders like this are rarely tied up to the com­plete sat­is­fac­tion of ev­ery­one, but few are left like the con­clu­sion of South Africa’s Van Breda fam­ily mur­der case, with such an enor­mous ele­phant in the room. Why did Henri Van Breda mur­der his mother, father, brother and at­tempt to kill his sis­ter in a sin­gle night of bloody mad­ness? De­spite his re­cent con­vic­tion and sen­tence to life in prison, his mo­tives, which we had hoped would sur­face dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion or even the trial, have never even come close to be­ing es­tab­lished. The­o­ries of a drug- fu­elled psy­chosis, an at­tempt to wrest the fam­ily fortune away for him­self, and a fam­ily ar­gu­ment gone hor­ri­bly wrong have foundered on weak ev­i­dence without ever look­ing very con­vinc­ing. We’ve spo­ken South African le­gal ex­pert Tracey Ste­wart, who sat in on Henri Van Breda’s trial, for an in­sight into Van Breda’s mind and a blowby- blow ac­count of the night in ques­tion. Our ten- page spe­cial starts on page 14 – maybe you could put your own the­ory to the test?

Henri Van Breda demon­strated to the South African court his bat­tle with the ‘ in­truder’, in which he some­how ended up hold­ing the axe with the blade fac­ing the wrong way

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