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The Van Breda murder trial
Desai said yesterday it is an unusual request as court procedure has always been that the accused would testify first but that this is an unusual case.

Desai allowed the livestream to continue despite the protest by the defence.

Henri testified today to my shock and not last as I had thought because I wanted to be there for it. (Sigh)

Henri said his plea explanation is only a summary.

He then talked about the family, where they stayed when they got back from Australia and when they were born. He said they were a close family and enjoyed spending time together.

Henri said that Marli's weight was a touchy subject in the family. Henri said he believes James Reade-Jahn didn't have anything to do with the murders. He said that the closeness between James and Marli was another touchy subject.

He said that on the evening of the murders, Rudi went for a run, Henri watched television with his dad, they had a bottle of wine. Teresa was in the kitchen and Marli was in her room.

They (the men of the family) later watched Star Trek to test the new hi-fi system. Henri said he can't recall the time.

They had a family dog called Sasha. She was sickly at the time and he (Henri) would carry her up the stairs to sleep with them. He also can't recall if he carried her upstairs that night.

After a while of not being able to sleep Henri went to the bathroom but didn't turn on the lights. Henri apparently showed signs of distress while he testified about hearing "strange sounds".

He heard unfamiliar banging sounds. He could see the silhouette of someone who appeared to be hitting Rudi. Swinging something down where Rudi was.

He had left the door slightly ajar, he got up to investigate and he thinks he put his phone in his pocket. He then shouted for help. The attacker was not facing towards him.

He said he distinctly remembers the attacker laughing. And then he heard his mother asking "Wat gaan hier aan?"

His dad was then attacked. He was hit once and according to Breda didn't move again as attacker laughed and continued hitting Martin.

Henri said he could not see the intruder when he left the room. The wall obstructed his view. He didn't hear the attack outside of the room. Henri said he was "very scared" and doesn't know why he did not come to the aid of his family.

The attacker then came back into the room and approached him, again laughing. Henri said he seemed unconcerned about Henri. The attacker raised the axe at him but Henri grabbed it.

He then described the attack and how he disarmed him and how the attacker came with a knife from nowhere. The attacker was trying to cut Henri's throat apparently.

Botha said Henri's thumbprint was on the blade of the knife, facing toward the handle. Henri said this is so because he pulled the knife out that way.

The attacker then fled and Henri heard two angry voices. He was not sure how many there were. He remembers Rudi on his bed, shaking around.

Henri said there was a lot of blood. He said he fell down the stairs and landed on his back at the bottom. He doesn't remember how. He said he chased after the attacker and threw the axe at him at the middle landing. He must have lost his footing and fell.

He didn't call the neighbors, he called his girlfriend before he called the emergency services. He Googled for emergency numbers.

He checked the back door which was wide open and he couldn't see anyone at the side of the house but still did not call for help.

(according to tweets of those in court Henri was not emotional or tearful, but clipped, matter of fact like.)

Henri said he recalls that Marli was moving before he lost consciousness. He said he woke up on the stairs, Sasha was barking and the phone was ringing.

He wanted to call EMS but didn't know the numbers. He calmed himself down by smoking cigarettes and tried calling EMS.

He called them on the cordless phone and struggled to get his location on his phone. He said he asked a woman to help but he doesn't remember who she was.

He was then taken to be seen by medical doctors. Afterwards he was taken to the SAPS office. Colonel Benecke said his infamous words about not believing the bullshit story.

Henri said that when he pushed the attacker away, he saw Rudi was flailing around on the bed, and he was gurgling. Henri denies the neighbors testimony that there were angry male voices that night.

Botha said there were minor discrepancies between his statement and the plea explanation. Henri said it's obvious the statement was not entirely correct. He said the statement is not verbatim with various typos. He only signed because he wanted to leave. He said he wouldn't have signed without a legal representative.

Henri had a beer at James' house to "calm down".

Henri said he has never seen the axe. He did not kill his family with the axe. And said he has no reason to attack his family.

Galloway then asked him why was he not the first witness? Henri said that he was advised by his lawyer.

Galloway asked if dogs barking unnecessarily was a problem at De Zalze? Henri replied yes, as the houses are close together.

Henri said he does not know who would have a grudge against his family.

Galloway said there was nothing strange that night om the cameras or that security could recall. Does he still say there was more than one intruder? Yes.

Galloway said it didn't make sense that two perpetrators would enter De Zalze, with all that trouble, going to the middle of the estate, staying undetected, entering the house and taking nothing valuable, then leaving again undetected.

Henri said someone might have been given a key to gain access. It is a reasonable possibility according to him.

The court was then adjourned until tomorrow.

I'm still clueless whether he is guilty or not Sad

It is difficult. However the story of his innocence doesn't make a great deal of sense to me. Is this a case where the truth is stranger than fiction?

Henri on the stand.

The emotional state of the family was "happy". He said that Marli did not watch TV with them. The police said so in his statement.
He is also now not sure that Rudi did go for a run that night.

The police statement also does not say that Martin was working that night as he claimed on the stand yesterday. Henri said he didn't think it was necessary for his plea explanation.
Advocate Galloway then said: Didn't deem it necessary because you later realized that you had to give a reason for what Mrs Op't Hof may have heard?
Henri replied that his plea explanation held only relevant information.

Galloway said that both brothers were on their laptops before bed but it wasn't on the exhibit photos so what did they do with it? Henri said he can't recall. Henri said the neighbor's testimony is wrong,she could not have heard angry voices. Galloway asked if he was saying she is lying? He said misguided.

Henri's said there were arguments in the house, but not serious they were mostly directed at Marli who was starting to rebel.

Desai asked if Rudi was targeted? Henri said that it appears so.

Henri then demonstrated with replicas the attack on Rudi. He said his calls for help must have attracted the attention of his father.

Desai asked why they didn't overpower the attacker together or protect his brother. He wishes they did and he was too scared.

Henri then demonstrated the attack on his father. Galloway said the demonstration does not fit with Martin's wounds. Advocate Botha objected and said Galloway is not a doctor.

Galloway asked why the attacker would go to Teresa and not attack Henri? He said that the attacker never paid any mind to him.

In his statement he said he could hear the attack on his mother and sister but in the plea explanation he didn't hear anything.

Desai asked why Henri didn't shout for his mother to run away? Henri replied he doesn't know. He was scared.

Galloway asked why the attacker came back to your room? Rudi was targeted initially then the rest of the family as they approached the scene, except you? In the same location, in the same room? Henri said he has no idea. Galloway said Henri is not a small man. Henri would be the closest in match to the physical build of the attacker? Henri agreed to this.

Henri did not recall seeing the axe in his home but won't dispute the domestic worker's evidence. The knife resembles one of their kitchen knives. Galloway then said it was interesting to note that the only kitchen drawer that was open was where the knife was kept. So the person went to the one drawer where the cutlery is kept.
Advocate Botha objected. Saying two was open. Galloway said the one was open much wider than the other. The only cabinetry that was anyhow disturbed.

Galloway asked whether Henri finds it strange that the one person who attacks his family arms himself on the scene? Henri agreed.

Henri also did not see another axe, there was no evidence of another on the scene? Henri said this is correct.

The court is adjourned until tomorrow.

Interesting times these

On a side note, anyone know when Oscar will be released?

He still needs to serve two years before he can be considered for parole.

(11-02-2017, 12:10 PM)Carly1803 Wrote: He still needs to serve two years before he can be considered for parole.

Finally some good news!

Hopefully parole gets denied Big Grin

Henri on the stand for the third day.

He said he is aware of the differences between his statement and the plea explanation (wouldn't it have been nice if this constituted statutory perjury)

In the police statement he said he saw how the perpetrator pulled out the knife but in his plea explanation, he said he didn't know where it came from.

Galloway then hammered away at the inconsistencies of the statement and the plea explanation. Galloway was really impressive.

Galloway: "The change in your versions, you now say you drew the knife from your side, that's impossible."
The statement implied time had lapsed and now the plea says immediately.

Van Breda then did another demonstration of how the attack happened. Henri said he only realized now that he was stronger than the attacker.
Advocate Botha objected to the line of questioning. Desai responded angrily that it's not a valid objection.

Galloway said she finds it strange that the attacker could take down Rudi and Martin but be so easily disarmed by Henri. Henri said he doesn't know.

From all the evidence Marli fought the hardest, based on how she was injured.

Galloway said that none of his wounds are defence wounds. Henri said if it doesn't appear that way, so be it. (a little arrogant I would say)

Henri said he was overwhelmed and scared. Galloway asked whether he was still holding back when the attack happened? No.

Galloway asked so he did nothing while his brother and father were attacked but then after their scuffle suddenly got the courage to chase after the attacker when there could have been more downstairs.

Judge Desai asked why he didn't keep the axe. Henri said, "I should have, my lord."

Galloway asked he also did not keep the knife? Did he drop it? Yes.

Henri said it was instinctive of him to throw the axe. To which Desai replied he should have kept it for defending himself. Henri said it was not wise of him.

Henri said Martin and Rudi were next to each other on the bed. Henri could see Rudi was moving about a lot. Galloway pointed out that this was again only his plea explanation and not the statement.

Galloway asked when Henri became aware that his mother and sister had been attacked. He said he doesn't think he registered what he saw when he left his room. Galloway said that at some point when he exited he must have realized on some level that they were attacked.

Henri said he doesn't recall the bodies as they were in the photos. The doorway was unobstructed. But in the photos, Marli's legs were in the doorway. Henri said she must have moved he remembers that she moved her one leg.

Henri said the police statement was not in his words. The gist of it is true, based on fact. There were things left out.

Henri is not sure if he fell down the stairs or just fell on them.

Henri said he heard voices as the attacker fled the room. Galloway asked if there were attackers on the ground floor if he would have been able to see them. Henri said he believes so.

Henri said he can't remember where the family dog, Sasha, was during the murders. He doesn't recall hearing her bark. Henri said she wouldn't bark at strangers. But would bark if the phone rang.

Galloway asked Henri is it not strange that the attackers left without anything? Not even an attempt to take any of the valuables lying openly.

Henri said that this is strange.
Galloway asked if someone could have cleaned out the house downstairs and the family would not have known anything? Yes, Henri replied.

Galloway asked if he checked the house for more assailants? No, he didn't he was recovering from immense trauma.

Right, would I be wrong in making the assumption that Henri is the only "suspect" in connection with these murders, apart from the alleged "intruders" that left zero evidence of them even being there?

(11-03-2017, 02:15 PM)Purply Wrote: Right, would I be wrong in making the assumption that Henri is the only "suspect" in connection with these murders, apart from the alleged "intruders" that left zero evidence of them even being there?

Yes, he is the only suspect as attempts to find the described assailants led to nothing.

If memory serves, he said he sat in his brothers toilet with the door slightly ajar while reading his smartphone?

That definitely doesn't sound like anything I would do. Why on earth sit on your brothers toilet with the light off, oh because the door was open, right ?!?!?

Day 57 in court and I had the privilege of being there myself.

PS, Headlines, media and people say Henri broke down in court when Galloway implied a fight between Henri and Marli. I saw no breakdown. A slight pause, yes, to answer the question put to him. But I did not see an emotional Henri. Quite the contrary.

Henri was calm, stoic. From testifying though it almost seems like someone making up a lie as they go about the smaller details. Henri started the morning confident but Galloway rattled his bones.

An audible rustling went through the court as Advocate Galloway inferred that Henri sustained the bump on his forehead and perhaps other injuries whilst fighting Marli. Marli fought back the hardest and had a defence wound on her knuckles that could be consistent with having punched Henri on his forehead.

Henri vehemently denied that this happened.

Galloway also addressed the time line of what happened after he regained consciousness. He apparently got up from the stairs and noticed blood that he supposed had come from his stab wound.

He was smoking cigarettes whilst calling the emergency services. The number he had Googled. I also have to note here, that Henri had to step around a pool of blood to get his cigarettes. There is a blood stain on his sock acquired from the blood dripping down the stairs.

So Henri phoned emergency services from the cordless phone of the house, having Googled the number on his mobile. Completely ignoring the two 24 hour medical emergency numbers on the fridge, in the kitchen where he was, and having been aware of them. He said that he thought he was doing all he could to help them. That it would be quicker to get direct help instead of phoning security who would then anyway phone the ambulance. Whilst Henri was on the phone calling emergency services, he was calling Bianca on his cell phone. No less than five times. "Why did you call Bianca? A minor girl, living in a hostel, what could she have done?"
Henri said he doesn't know. "To talk to someone."
Galloway also asked why he didn't take the cordless phone with him while talking to emergency services and check on his family.
Why he didn't press a towel to their injuries? Henri said he didn't think he could help them and that he was doing the best he could.

In the emergency call Henri is heard saying that his family has head injuries. However, Henri never checked on the family. He said he told this to Philander because in Australia if you said this they would immediately send an ambulance. Galloway said he didn't even need to say this. His family DID have head injuries. Henri said he saw his dad and Rudi get attacked and could say it was head injuries.

Galloway asked why Henri didn't go outside and call for help? Henri said that it wouldn't help if they weren't medical professionals. However, Henri wouldn't know, they could as well have been. It has been said numerous during the trial that the van Breda's didn't know their neighbors.

There was also debate about the position of the knife. Having been found under the bed. It could have been pushed there or bounced. It is interesting to know that the duvet was bundled nearly on top of the knife and a pool of blood. The bundling must have been on purpose as Rudi was too weak to have done it, and all the other family members were not there except Henri.

Galloway also asked why there were no paw prints? Where was Sasha? Galloway asked whether this is because Henri locked her up and then attacked his family? He say this did not happen.

Galloway asked why it seemed like Henri had selective memory loss. When it comes to the most important parts of the case Henri "can't recall".

The state finished their questioning and it seems like the court is adjourned until tomorrow.

(11-06-2017, 06:46 AM)Purply Wrote: If memory serves, he said he sat in his brothers toilet with the door slightly ajar while reading his smartphone?

That definitely doesn't sound like anything I would do. Why on earth sit on your brothers toilet with the light off, oh because the door was open, right ?!?!?

Henri and Rudi shared a room. So it's their shared bathroom.

Why the light was off, only he would know.

Day 58, Advocate Botha said they want to call in a psychologist for next week to explain why Henri acted the way he did. He said they will send their questions to the state by Thursday to have them prepared for their own questioning.

Botha questioned Henri today. Just going over facts of the event again.
Henri said he hid his cigarettes in a shoe by the bottom of the stairs. Marli wasn't supposed to know he smokes. His parents didn't want it to influence Marli.

As far as I can tell, the court is adjourned until Monday.

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