Defence to present closing arguments in Van Breda trial

Henri van Breda in court, 12 February, 2018. The defence will present their closing arguments in the murder trial on Tuesday. Photo: ANA

CAPE TOWN - Defence advocate Piet Botha is expected to present closing arguments in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday in the sensational trial of triple murder accused Henri Van Breda.

On Monday, senior State prosecutor Susan Galloway presented the State's final arguments describing the circumstantial evidence against the 23-year-old as "overwhelming".

Galloway told the court that Van Breda's version of what happened in the early hours of January 27, 2015 "cannot be reasonably possibly true".

"His version is fabricated and should be rejected as false."

READ: Van Breda 'a druggie': book

Van Breda claimed that a laughing, axe-wielding intruder, wearing a balaclava and dark clothing was behind the attack at his family home in the security estate De Zalze in Stellenbosch.

The vicious axe attacks left his mother Teresa, father Martin and brother Rudi, dead. His sister Marli, who was 16 at the time, survived the attack, but Galloway said this was "not indicative of a lesser attack, but rather a miracle".

Galloway said he committed the murders with premeditation. "He had to have armed himself. The axe and knife were in two different locations, he had to go there to arm himself."

She said "he did nothing" for almost three hours after the attacks, despite the fact that Marli was still alive.

"He could have been waiting for them all to die while he smoked his cigarettes."

Galloway also highlighted the discrepancies in Van Breda's plea explanation and his testimony in court, submitting that it was "quite apparent that he amended his version as an afterthought".

She said Van Breda had made a poor impression as a witness, spoke confidently and in a "superior manner" at times and gave a "well rehearsed" version of his plea explanation.

"He at all times tried to reason his decision-making and demeanour during and after the attack. Even when he couldn't remember something he tried to justify his decisions."

She described him as having "selective memory loss", able to recall great detail in some instances, but in others nothing at all.

Furthermore, he could not explain why the intruder or intruders had chosen the Van Breda house in the middle of the estate, did not remove valuables, attacked the family with "extensive chop wounds", but left an eyewitness "virtually unharmed".

African News Agency

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