The Van Breda murder trial
#46
(05-09-2017, 10:07 AM)Carly1803 Wrote: At least it means they're throurough. But so far we've seen how many witnesses? About 5? Out of 80 or more. Rossouw was only number 80 in an undefined amount.
I may have gotten in over my head here but I'll keep reporting for you and my own sanity.

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Yup, seems like this one will be dragging out for another month or three, best you strap yourself in for the long haul

I certainly appreciate the daily updates, as many do I'm sure.

#47
Here is my late update to Day 8 of the trial.

Security manager, Rossouw is on the stand again.

Advocate Botha said that his experts in alarm systems said that a power dip would not cause those alarm activations.He said that if there had been a power dip more than one energizer would have been activated as the line serves more than one energizer.

The court then looked at vehicles that entered the estate.
At 3.17 a white vehicle entered the estate and there are no records of it.
At 4.29 another vehicle enters, without being stopped, also no records of it.

A statement from the security says that it was a quiet night after the restaurant closed at 23.00, with no other vehicles exiting or entering. Advocate Botha said that this is clearly incorrect.
Botha says to Rossouw that log in procedures are clealry not followed. Rossouw says that this is possible.

Infrared camera footage is shown from the camera near the river entrance. What is deemed to be a buck is seen on one side of the fene and then the other. Whether it is the same is unclear but Botha questions that if it is, how was the alarm not activated.
It also seems that three hours of the footage is missing.

Rossouw says that there are many animals on the estate and surrounding area.
There are pictures of security guards sleeping on the job.

The Homeowners Association frequently send out emergency numbers in newsletters. Henri said that he had never read it.

In May 2013 a man armed with a panga tried to gain entry into the estate but was scared of by a guard.

The van Breda home did not have an alarm.

The next witness on the stand is Christiaan Koegelenberg (First ambulance responder). He works for Stellenbosh EMS, he has 39 years of service on his belt.
He said, "When we got there the policeman showed us what was going on, he took us into number 12 and told us to look what was going on because everything was 'deurmekaar'"
He saw one patient outside (Henri) sititing with a dog.
The policeman took them inside and upstairs and showed them where the victims were. At the top of the stairs and in the bedroom.

Koegelenberg saw that one of the victims was still breathing. He went to the first two victims (Marli and her mother) and his colleague went to the other two (Martin and Rudi). His colleague then gave him the signal to indicate both victims were deceased.

They got their equipment and carried Marli down the stairs after the police had taken their pictures. He said that when they moved Teresa's body, blood ran down the stairs like a waterfall. It was one of the worst experiences in his 39 years of service.

Koegelenberg did not treat Henri. He recognizes him albeit he is older.

Advocate Botha says Henri does not know who brought him the dog.

Galloway says they had a third witness but their interpreter had not arrived.

Court adjourned until today.

I will post an update tonight for today.

#48
Day 9 of the trial started with Andre van Breda, Martin's brother, on the witness stand.

Andre testifies to how close-knit his family is, his brothers and him. He also speaks of Martin's achievements and you can see how proud he is of all that Martin achieved. In his own words "Martin was an exceptional man" one of great integrity. His business was thriving, he didn't have an enemy in the world.

The family moved to Australia in 2005 and the whole family was in South Africa again by January 2014. The family made the move back to South Africa as Teresa was unhappy in Australia and wanted to be near her family.

Andre said he was at the De Zalze house after the murders with his twin brother, their wives, Henri, and two of Henri's aunts from his mother's side. [It seems that Marli was also there to collect some of her personal things before leaving with James (a school friend's whose parents she was staying with)]

Andre says that nothing was missing from the house.

Advocate Botha said that Henri said he didn't go into the house that day, that he didn't want to go in.
Andre said that they were in the house, they stood in the kitchen. He can't recall if Henri went into the rooms but he was in the kitchen where he wanted an exotic Japanese whisky he had bought his father and he further pointed out which wines he wanted.

Andre said that they visited the house twice. In one of these visits, Henri was inside the house. Botha said that Henri only wanted the whisky for sentimental value. Andre said that he accepts that.

Andre then further insists his brother had no enemies, nor did Teresa that he knew of. He said that all the children were well-mannered, well-educated and he doesn't think ever disappointed their parents.

The next witness on the stand is Precious Munyongani. She worked for the household from October 2014 to January 2015, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Someone else worked on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Precious said that she did the washing, ironing and cleaning. To gain entry into the estate she used an access card and thumbprint. She got to the house from the gate with a taxi. She would enter via the side gate where the key would hang on a string and then through the back door which was left unlocked.

She says that the family had a dog, named Sasha who would normally sleep where Henri slept and otherwise roam freely. The dog didn't bark a lot.

She worked on Monday the 26th from 8.25 until 15.45. She said that she didn't clean one of the bathrooms upstairs and also not Henri's room as she didn't have time for it.

Teresa, Rudi and Henri were there but since they spoke in Afrikaans she could not understand them. She said that she had never witnessed an incident where they fought with each other.

When shown the axe, she confirms that it is the same that is always kept on a shelf in the scullery. She is also shown a picture of the knife and said that this matches the knives that were in the kitchen.

When asked about the paper that was stuck on the fridge, she says that these were the emergency numbers should anything happen at the house. When shown Henri's cigarettes she said that she had never seen him smoke while his parents were there and that she was the only one who smoked.

When cross-examined by Advocate Combrink she said that she can't say that that is the exact axe but it is the same type of axe. She told the police that it was the same because it had the same sticker on the handle.

Judge Desai said that he finds the line of questioning torturous as it is the same questions over and over. Combrink said that he is just trying to establish whether it is the axe that was there or if it was brought from the outside.

Precious said that her statement was taken in English and not read back to her, she is not fluent in English but Shona. She testified with an interpreter.

Bianca van der Westhuizen is next to testify. She and Henri met at a braai in 2014 and she last saw him the weekend before the murders. She said that they weren't dating but had begun spending time together. She then described the family as "normal".

She sent Henri a WhatsApp message on the evening of 26 January. And she only saw him the Tuesday, the 27th (the murders happened in the early hours of the 27th) when they went to the police station together. She didn't get any messages during the night because she puts her phone on aeroplane mode.

Henri phoned her the 27th at 4.24 and again at 7.20, none of which she answered with her phone on aeroplane mode.

In her first period she received the messages from earlier about an emergency of some sort and when she texted him and tried to phone him, there was no answer. She cried on the witness stand and said that Henri and Marli seemed close.

Court was adjourned and will continue tomorrow.

#49
Would be interesting to hear what else this Bianca person can share, more importantly what kind of person she is and her "habits"

#50
(05-11-2017, 07:31 AM)Purply Wrote: Would be interesting to hear what else this Bianca person can share, more importantly what kind of person she is and her "habits"

"habits" I like that. I am wondering myself when that will be brought up in court.

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#51
Day 10 of the trial dawned today, and it seems we are getting to the good stuff. At least more interesting than security.

First on the stand is James Reade-Jahn.

James is Marli's ex-boyfriend. They were dating at the time of the murders. James' family and the Van Breda's were family friends. James often visited their home and went on vacation with them. He describes them as a normal family, they had arguments now and again but so it is with family. 

He said Marli had good relationships with her brothers. She looked up to them. He also says Martin and Teresa had a good relationship with each other. They loved their children and were very family orientated. 

James last saw Marli on the 26th at school and chatted on WhatsApp that evening. He texted her good morning but there was no reply. He expected to see her at school but when she was not there he phoned other family and when that also went unanswered he got concerned and asked his mother (who works in Stellenbosch) to go over and see if things were alright. His mother came to his school to tell him what had happened. 

Because the Reade-Jahn's went there so often they had one of the Van Breda's access cards. 

James also recognizes the paper on the fridge with the emergency numbers were anything to happen. 

He is shown pictures of the axe, cigarettes, phone and a lighter.
He recognizes the axe as one that Martin bought in early 2014. He saw it a few times after that in the garage. He is not certain whether the top of the axe was black or dark green. He never saw anyone use it. 
He also recognized the cigarettes. He said that Henri smokes Camels. He has never seen him smoke in front of family members. 

James' phone was confiscated during the investigation, he assumed to download conversations with the family members.

The police asked him to explain messages he had sent 10 and 11 January, in a conversation between Marli and him. 

According to the messages, the family had had a loud argument at the dinner table. Marli was upset by her father, her mother was upset as well. Marli was present when they had a fight, the aftermath of a family argument. 

He saw them the next day and everything seemed fine. Advocate Combrink said that the argument was quite heated as Martin was discussing that Marli is overweight and how sensitive she is about it. James said that that seems like the only possibility, although Teresa was also upset he can only think that another issue must have cropped up. 

In a text message to Marli, he said "I know I told you I would tell you everything - right now I feel I want to murder the people around you. But I am being strong to help you." Marli's parents were apparently worried that their relationship was too serious and that they had to focus on their exams which will be used for university acceptance. 

Nicholas Steyn is next on the stand. A police captain with 28 years experience. 

He arrived on the scene when forensics were already there. The scene he found was not one of robbery. As most things were in place. He said he found it strange that all the valuables were still there. He could find no evidence of forced entry. He said that if there was a perpetrator they would have blood on their hands and left blood if he jumped over the wall or a shoeprint but there was none. 

Captain Steyn spoke to Henri in the ambulance and let him tell his story. Steyn didn't question him. Henri told him that in the early hours of the morning he went to the bathroom and then heard noises (kap geluide) he looked looked out the door and saw someone attacking his brother. He said that he (Henri) had shouted and his father came into the room. The attacker then attacked his dad too and thereafter his mother and sister came in respectively and the attacker went after them too. Henri then confronted the assailant. 

He said that he took the axe from the person and the person proceeded to attack him with a knife, he was stabbed in the side and the person fled. Henri went after and threw the axe at him but missed and hit the wall instead. The assailant fled out the back door. He said he returned and saw his mother and sister and fainted on the stairs. 

When he gained consciousness again he googled the emergency number for the police.

Steyn said he took the swabs for DNA from the domestic workers, he also handled Martin Van Breda's wallet, which was later returned to Lorinda van Niekerk.

Advocate Botha then questioned Steyn about the balaclava gang that was operating in the vicinity. Steyn said that the last of that gang was arrested in 2014. The gang took valuables that they could easily carry. 

Botha said that even though there are no signs of an intruder it is still a possibility. Steyn agreed that it is so. 

Botha said that there was no blood on Henri's socks. Steyn agreed to this fact. Albeit there was blood on Henri's boxers.

Botha said that Henri had so many injuries that it could not all fit on a J88 form. Among it were knobs on his face, various cuts and a bruise on his knee.

The court is adjourned until tomorrow.

#52
Well this sucks, here I was hoping for more about Bianca Sad

#53
(05-12-2017, 07:04 AM)Purply Wrote: Well this sucks, here I was hoping for more about Bianca Sad

I'm sure Judge Desai knows of it since Henri was in court about two weeks before this trial for marijuana possession. But the charges were withdrawn for him and current girlfriend Danielle.

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#54
I have made a mistake. The court will resume Monday. Nothing today. 😕

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#55
I need some entertainment, hopefully Bianca will be able to supply us with that today.

#56
It was an incredibly long day in court today although a more exciting one. 

Lieutenant Colonel Henry James Stuart (Steward, Stewart - no one seems to have the correct surname) is called to the stand. Henry has been a forensic analyst since 1994. He has given evidence in court, specifically in hair analysis since 2006. 

He received untampered evidence of sealed hair from the crime scene. He says familial hair is not necessarily the same. Parent and children hair do not have similarities. 

Stuart says that people have the tendency to shed hair and thus hair can be found in other places than on your body. Hair that had fallen out naturally would probably contain a root. 

The line of questioning stems from a crime scene photograph of Marli's hand that had hair in it.

 Apparently, Henry's qualifications have nothing to do with hair analysis but he had attended a course in it. 

The hair found shows a resemblance to Henri Van Breda. Advocate Botha then asked,
 "Only a resemblance?"
 "Yes"
 "It is used to exclude and not identify someone?"
 "I agree 100%"

Henry analyzed hairs but there were some that could not be linked to the family. 

Advocate Botha seized this opportunity to put Stuart under fire.
"How many times have you given expert evidence in court?"
"Three times"
"Can you show the court where in your statement you said that there were unknown hairs?"
 "I didn't say that. I wasn't required to say that. It is implied" 

Judge Desai then asked a question himself, "Why didn't you report the fact that some of the hair did not match? Is that not your duty as an expert?"
"It wasn't expected to say which were foreign."

Botha then told Stuart that he will argue in the court that his report is misleading evidence. 

Stuart also claimed he didn't know whose hair he was working with but Botha then refers to emails that were sent from SAPS with instructions and details. 

Stuart said he does not read these to remain objective. 

Stuart says he uses the kit numbers as reference numbers. He reiterates that he only looks at the kit numbers as those are the important numbers. 
Botha then asked him whether he focuses more on the kit number than bag seal number. To which Stuart said that is correct, he does.

Botha then points out in his statement he made a mistake when referring to the reference kit number. Stuart said he had yes. That it is an easy mistake to make. 

Botha said that there was a towel, blood-soaked t-shirt and panty that was covering Marli. Would it have been possible for her to get the hair in her hand if she grasped the towel? Stuart said that it is a possibility. 

Botha says there was also a pillow taken from the room where the men were found that was put under Marli's head to help here breathe. Would it have been possible to come from that? Stuart said that this is also a possibility. 

Botha then asks how Stuart knew Marli had been wearing the panty. He would only have known that if he had read the cover letter.

Stuart said that it is a coincidence. To which Judge Desai replied "Remarkable coincidence."

The hair on Marli's hand is a long one, longer than 10cm. Stuart said in his report that the hairs in the exhibit are 200mm and longer. 
Henri's hair at the time of the murder was no more than 30mm. 
The hair found on the panty and t-shirt were much longer. 


The court is adjourned until tomorrow. 

(All of this seems like a day wasted in court. Hair DNA is a hit and miss science, though it is improving rapidly, the new methods are still not implemented everywhere. In my opinion, the hair is Marli's own.)

#57
Oh brother, that was a complete waste of time.

#58
Day 12 is here and we will further drag on about the case of the hair before a neighbor is called to take the stand and the one who took Henri's emergency call that morning.

But first for the boring: Henry Stewart (the surname was finally confirmed) is on the stand again.

Botha asked if any of the hair had blood on it, Stewart said that there hadn't. 

Botha then said that Henri's hair (D21) is classified as light hair, and the hair found on Marli is also classified as light. Rudi's hair is classified as black, he had the darkest hair in the family. 

Botha then says Stewart didn't check pigment density. Stewart replied and said if he had completed all the categories for comparisons he would have been busy for a year. (It's been two years hasn't it?)

Stewart said that his findings are peer reviewed. He only worked with 11 out of 24 categories for comparison. Botha said that there are 6 characteristics he looks at when making comparisons (root, cuticle tip and pigment distribution) Stewart says he used all six of these. [yet earlier it was said he didn't check pigment distribution, this is why we needed live coverage]

Botha then refers to Rudi's black hair. There were black hairs found on Rudi's bed where Martin was also found. Botha said that despite positive indicators that the hair found on the bed is Rudi's, Stewart said he couldn't positively state that it is indeed Rudi's. He said that the microscope showed enough differences to not confirm this.

Stewart also found medium hair on Marli's shirt, while Henri's hair is classified as "fine". Botha then asked him to whom this hair belonged and Stewart only said he can't say, it's an unknown hair. 

Botha then asked about an exhibit where two hairs were found with roots, that were sent for DNA Analysis to which there has been no outcome received. 

Stewart said that all relevant samples were sent for DNA Analysis. 

Botha said that if DNA Analysis had excluded Henri from the outcome, a great question mark would be placed upon Stewart's report. Stewart agrees that this is so but he did what he was required to do. 

After seeing the length of Henri's hair the morning of the incident Stewart says he stands by his work but concedes the chances are nil that it's Henri's hair. 


Next on the stand is Stephanie Op'T Hof. She lived in number 10 Goske street for 2 years, moving out November 2015. 

She said she chose to stay there to feel safe with her two sons, as her husband works overseas. She considers it to be the safest place in Stellenbosch. She didn't know the Van Breda's. She was home the night before the murder and the morning of (26, 27 January  2015) 

She says she put her children to bed at 8 pm and then continued with work that she had, she is an interior decorator. She said she was working on her laptop in the living room, 12 Goske Street right across from her. 

At 10 that evening she heard loud voices, she got a fright and stood up to check where the noise was coming from. It was loud men's voices, having an argument. The argument continued all the way till 12 that night. She went to bed at 12:10.

She said she couldn't hear what the men were saying, she doesn't know how the family member's voices sounded. 

Advocate Combrink cross examined Op'T Hof and asked if she could differentiate between real voices and whether it was a TV? Op'T Hof said that a TV would have breaks, with other noises and snippets in between and not continue as the voices had. 

Her house was completely silent and thus she heard the voices very loud and aggressive. 

In her statement to the police, Op'T Hof said that the house next to her was vacant and Martin Locke and his now wife lived next door. She could clearly hear the noise emanating from number 12. 

She said that Colonel Benecke didn't seem to believe her, but she told him has nothing to gain from this, she doesn't want to be involved. 

They sent audio specialists and confirmed that the noise did indeed come from where she said. Op'T Hof is an exceptional witness, not letting Advocate Combrink rattle her story. 

Combrink says that Rudi, Henri and their Dad was watching Star Trek 2 as they got a new sound system and wanted to test it. A lot of action and screaming happens during the movie.

Op'T Hof says she is familiar with Star Trek and doesn't agree that what she heard is the movie. There was no music at all. 

Martin Locke said in his statement he didn't hear anything. Op'T Hof said she doesn't know why they didn't hear what she had. She heard at least two voices, no female ones. She couldn't hear what language was being spoken.

She said she did not phone security or the police because it didn't sound like they were going to kill each other and she didn't want to interfere. 

Henri then spoke to Advocate Combrink, he has a list of questions for Op'T Hof. 

Advocate Combrink continued questioning of the witness after lunch. 

Between 10 and 11 that evening Mr Wyngaard and Mr Afrika did their security patrol and heard and saw nothing suspicious. Mr Locke had open windows and doors and they didn't hear anything. 

Op'T Hof insists it is not the movie or the TV that she heard. What she heard was voices, not a soundtrack or music. 

If someone screamed for help she would have reacted. 

Advocate Galloway then asked, "Between the argument and the police arriving, did anyone come to your door?"
Op'T Hof, ''No, it's strange that Henri didn't come to my door to come and ask me for help."


The next witness is Janine Philander, she was employed at the Emergency Call Center for Cape Town in 2015.

On 27 January 2015, she was on morning duty, and she received a call from a person who identified himself as Henri and asked for an ambulance. "He was hesitant and I heard a slight - what sounded to me - like a giggle." 

"At first I thought it was someone prank calling. Adults do prank call the line. I asked him for his details and he was very cooperative and calm. We struggled a bit with the address as our system picked up the address in Milnerton. I asked him for landmarks and nearby streets to confirm that he was calling from where he said."

"How did you think it was a prank?"

"By the way he sounded. A normal reaction to home invasion or assault is usually a frantic one, people screaming, shouting, can't recall numbers, very confused. Also very persistent in getting an ambulance out now, getting help now, I waited for that to come through but it didn't.
I informed him that I would phone the police as they can trace where he is. I called the police and he stayed on the line. He was very helpful in giving alternative street names - he didn't get angry or agitated with me. He was just very calm and collected and that was the weirdest thing for me. 
He offered to wait on a different street than where he stayed which was also strange as people normally say they are not going anywhere or they might hang up and call another centre for help. "

Henri's call came at 7:12 on 27 January. The recording was played in court.


The court was then adjourned until tomorrow.

Short part of the call Henri made including the part Janine describes as a giggle.

#59
Day 13 is upon us as the trial of the year continues.

Janine Philander is still on the stand. And the emergency call is being played to the court. (In my previous post there is a link to a short snippet of it)

Henri sounds flustered as there is trouble with finding the address. Henri is on the phone with Janine and asks that more than one ambulance be sent. 

ER, "Who is injured?"
Henri, "I think everyone. Everyone - four people. Three adults and one teenage girl. A man attacked my whole family. My sister is moving. I don't think the rest are alive. They have head injuries. I don't think they're conscious." 

Henri got very emotional in court as the call was being played. 

Philander said that when something life threatening happens to you, you scream and you shout. Victims don't allow you to waste their time. Normally they don't hold on.

An inordinate amount of time is spent trying to get the address right. There is no urgency whatsoever. 
Henri sounds frustrated but is still calmly trying to help them locate the house. 

Henri was still very emotional as the call was being played to the court. A short adjournment was granted as Henri left the room in tears. 

Botha then continues to question Philander. He said that when Henri was young he had a stutter and was taught a technique to speak very calmly and slowly or else the stutter would be more severe. Philander said she didn't pick up a stutter but that it makes sense.

Botha then refers to the "giggle" Philander said she heard. Judge Desai said he didn't hear a giggle - just a noise. 

Desai said that the ER is just an opinion, albeit she may be experienced, the court will decide whether it is evidence or not. 

Botha said that he is trying to figure out what she is trying to convey to the court. Philander said, "That Henri was calm." To which Botha replied that Henri was anything but calm. 

Botha took issue with the impression Philander is creating. 

Botha said that there are a number of instances where he is stuttering during the call, Philander said she doesn't hear it. 

Botha said that the fact Henri remained polite during the call is counting against him. 
Philander said that he sounded the same throughout the call.
Botha disagreed and said that that is not what he is hearing. 

Botha then asks was it Henri's fault the call took so long?
Philander, "Yes, normally a caller in this type of emergency will set the tone."

They then went on dispute again about how it took so long to find the address. 
Philander says it's strange that Henri didn't hang up and phone back with better directions.
Botha replied and said that Henri was already speaking to an operator he didn't want to risk hanging up and not getting through. 
Philander said that this is reasonable. 

Botha said that in her statement Philander didn't mention the giggle. Only after she had listened to the recording and it was said on social media that he giggled. Botha said that Henri was sobbing and asking please, can Philander refute this? 

Philander just said that it didn't sound that way to her, she heard a giggle. Judge Desai then said that the giggle is just an interpretation. 

Botha asked her why it took her so long to get the address when the ambulance found it in two minutes? Is it because she didn't believe him?
Philander said, "Yes"


Lizette Albertse was next to testify. 

She is a district surgeon at Stellenbosch District Hospital. She examined Henri at 11:30 that morning. She completed a J88 while he was present. 

Albertse noted injuries including scratches, a superficial knife wound, an old scratch above the knee, but noted bruising and swelling, a scratch above the nipple and swelling above the left eye. 

The injuries didn't look serious to her.
She said that when she relooked her form she would better describe the scratches as cuts. 

Advocate Galloway refers to a blood spot on the stairs and asks if that could be there from a significant fall as Henri describes in his plea explanation. 

Albertse said that the injury to the head would be possible but not the knee. The knob on his head was from blunt force and not a sharp object. The injury to his back was an abrasion, similar to say a grass burn as if he scraped against something.

She was asked by the police whether his injuries could be self-inflicted and she said it would need to be referred to a specialist. 
She also took DNA and nail scrapings from him. 

Advocate Botha takes over questioning again saying that she noted him as very quiet and that she couldn't find any clinical proof of drugs or alcohol. Albertse agrees, said that she would definitely have noted the stench of alcohol but she saw nothing to make her think he was under the influence of any substance. 

Botha held up the knife and demonstrates how Henri said he grabbed the attacker's forearm and how the knife was angled to cut him. Botha said Henri also had a cut on his thorax. "Is this possible?"
Albertse said, "I can't say it's not at all possible."

Henri went to see a private doctor that night, with the swelling the size of a small chicken egg above his left eye and two blue eyes. 

Botha asked if Henri could have suffered a concussion if he fell on the stairs and hit his head. Albertse said that this is possible. 

Botha said Henri fell while chasing down the stairs and again when he ascended the stairs and saw his family members on the landing. Botha asks if it is possible that he was concussed after he passed out, resulting in him wetting himself?

Albertse said that this is also possible.


The court is adjourned until tomorrow. 

The various clips that were played in court.

What do you guys think so far?

#60
Listening to the emergency call: http://news.searchsa.co.za/news/henri-br...-call.html

I'd lose my shiaat with that emergency operator!! How the bloody hell is he not screaming at this useless woman?






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